The harvest of blog posts from over 1200 pictures of our Christmas trip to Puerto Peñasco continues! Watching the world go by from Margie's rooftop astronomy deck, was always a favorite activity of mine. While Puerto Peñasco has a population of a little under 60,000, the lighting in use is old-school from a few decades ago, so a lot is unshielded. This leads to a considerable glow to the northwest towards town, likely amplified by a little humidity from the sea and dust off the desert. The east was pretty dark - only low-level residential lighting with a little glow from seaside development and if you try really hard, Caborca can be detected 80 miles to the southeast.
Generally our schedule was ruled by the sun - we awoke early with the sun and headed for bed usually within hours of sunset. The girls did a great job with all our meals at home, but they always wanted to eat dinner just as it was getting interesting right after dark! Christmas was the time of year that Orion dominates the eastern horizon as the stars dissolve out of the sky, and for 2 of our 3 nights I missed it too... But finally I was able to grab some frames for the mosaics shown here - a 4-frame shot at left, and 3-frame shot at right. I was concerned the program (Microsoft ICE) would have difficulty joining the earth and sea since there was a gap in time between frames, but there didn't seem to be any issues at all. The subframes are only 30 seconds of exposure and there was some vignetting that showed in the assemblages that I corrected in Photoshop to some effect, but otherwise these are good representations of what could be seen by eye. In the left image, bright Jupiter can be seen rising with Gemini, while Orion dominates the center. In the right image, I wanted to show the pair of clusters in Taurus above Orion, the V-shaped Hyades and the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades above that. Click for full-size views, realizing the 1600-pixel-wide limits of the blog.
It is always interesting how homeowners take advantage of local materials. In the Midwest everyone has grass in their front yard. In Tucson where you would need to pay for water to grow grass, most yards have a layer of pea gravel. In Puerto Peñasco, Margie has a layer of white turret shells to serve in the space between the parked cars and where the patio begins. Very eye-catching! She claims the locals sell large burlap bags of them for a few dollars... Shown at left is a closeup, and at right one I ran across in the wild down at the beach.
Finally, an innocent napkin holder caught my eye one morning. From the outside covered dining table, she had a couple of her gold plate spoons keeping the napkins from blowing away. I caught my reflection in them and attempted a variety of "selfies" catching my reflection. I liked the structure and tone a lot, and then, while manipulating the image yesterday noticed the "twofer" aspect - the twin images of me serve as an accidental stereo image too! Cross your eyes slightly to merge the two images of the right-hand image and you will see a coarse 3D image of me taking the picture, camera closer to the reflection that my head and roof beyond. I like it!