Apr 142014
 

In Albuquerque, go outside at 1:47am or thereabouts. I’ll be in bed.

The Sky This Week, 2014 April 8 – 15 — Naval Oceanography Portal

Full Moon occurs on the 15th at 3:42 am Eastern Daylight Time.  April’s Full Moon is variously known as the Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Fish Moon, and Pink Moon.  This last appellation will be particularly appropriate this year as Luna undergoes a total eclipse by the shadow of the Earth. …

The Moon will enter the Earth’s penumbral shadow at 12:54 am EDT, marking the beginning of the event.  Most of us probably won’t notice anything unusual until about 45 minutes later when Luna’s disc will begin to show a subtle darkening along her northwestern limb.  At 1:58 am the transit through Earth’s umbral shadow begins, and over the next hour the Moon plunges ever deeper into it.  At 3:07 am the total phase begins, with mid-eclipse occurring at 3:46 am.  The total phase ends at 4:25 am, and Luna exits the shadow at 5:33.  The final traces of the penumbral shadow clear the Moon’s face at 6:38 am, shortly after sunrise.  As to what the Moon will look like during the total phase, that’s anybody’s guess.  This is one of the things that makes watching these eclipses interesting.  The darkness of the Moon’s disc depends very heavily on the clarity of the Earth’s atmosphere, so a bright, coppery-hued Moon means that the air over the Southern Hemisphere is clear.  If you miss this one, don’t fret; we’ll get another eclipse (at a far more decent evening hour) on September 28, 2015.

[Bonus:] Ruddy Mars is now at the peak of his current apparition. He reaches opposition on the 8th, when Earth passes between the red planet and the Sun. At this time he’ll rise at sunset and set at sunrise, remaining visible in the sky all night long. Earth and Mars are closest together on the 15th, when just over 57 million miles (92 million kilometers) separate us. This is the time to try to see details on his far-flung surface, views of which have tantalized earthbound astronomers for centuries.

The Sky This Week, 2014 April 8 – 15 — Naval Oceanography Portal

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 Posted by at 3:37 pm
Apr 042014
 

If wolves can survive in El Malpais, let them in. Those of us who hike in that area would love the chance to see them.

Gray wolf breeding pair released in Arizona | Albuquerque Journal News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed expanding the area where the predators are allowed to roam, but it could be months before a final decision is reached. Until then, the agency is required to capture those wolves found outside the nearly 7,000-square-mile wolf-recovery area, which straddles the Arizona-New Mexico line.

That was the case with a pair that had traveled north to El Malpais National Monument near Grants. They had been in the area since February before wildlife managers darted and captured them last Friday.

This was the farthest north a pair of Mexican gray wolves had been documented, said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.

“This is excellent habitat. It’s remote country, and filled with deer,” he said. “This would have been an opportunity for the population to expand naturally.”

Gray wolf breeding pair released in Arizona | Albuquerque Journal News

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 Posted by at 8:24 am
Apr 042014
 

Pitch in to clean up foothills hiking trails | Albuquerque Journal News

The City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division will be working every Saturday in April in to remove graffiti, clean up trash and/or perform trail maintenance in the foothills. Volunteers who want to help are asked to meet in time to start work at 9 a.m.

The schedule includes:

  • April 5: Copper trailhead. East of Tramway on Copper Ave.
  • April 12: Indian School trailhead. East of Tramway on Indian School Road.
  • April 19: Menaul trailhead. East of Tramway on Menaul Blvd.
  • April 26: Piedra Lisa Open Space. East of Tramway on Candelaria Road and south on Camino de la Sierra.

Bring gloves, a picnic lunch, a water bottle, sturdy outdoor shoes and sun protection. No registration necessary, unless you are part of a group.

Groups of 10 or larger are asked to register by calling 452-5213. Children under 18 must have a parent/guardian with them.

Pitch in to clean up foothills hiking trails | Albuquerque Journal News

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 Posted by at 7:47 am
Apr 032014
 

New lands are open for exploring | Albuquerque Journal News

The Petrified Forest National Park has announced that 14,650 acres of park expansion lands are now open.

The lands were acquired by the park from the Bureau of Land Management (4,800 acres) and by purchases from willing private sellers (9,850 acres) since the Petrified Forest Expansion Act was passed in 2004.

One of the areas newly opened is Billings Gap, which is a route between mesas that contains fossil remains of approximately 220-million-year-old clam beds. The park staff have already found interesting paleontological finds in this area, which can be accessed on foot. There are no established trails in this wide, open terrain but route information and maps are available on the park’s website (www.nps.gov/pefo) or at the park’s visitor centers.

The park is about 80 miles west of Gallup off I-40.

New lands are open for exploring | Albuquerque Journal News

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 Posted by at 7:38 pm
Mar 262014
 

The Senate will stop this. Will you give the Senate to the Republicans this fall?

House attempts to gut Antiquities Act–and the future of national monuments and parks | Wilderness.org

The House passed a bill on March 26 that would gut the Antiquities Act, a law used by presidents from both parties to protect special places for more than a century.

The latest salvo against public lands, H.R. 1459, would add bureaucratic hurdles and arbitrary limits to the process of designating national monuments, a presidential tradition upheld since the Antiquities Act was first signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and used on a bipartisan basis by 16 presidents since then. …

If it became law, the bill would…

  • Prevent presidents from declaring more than one monument in a state during each term without an express act of Congress;
  • Add bureaucratic hurdles by requiring additional government studies for most monument designations;
  • Waste taxpayer dollars–an additional $2 million over the next four years–on those studies, some of which would have to be submitted for Congressional review;
  • Make monument designations of under 5,000 acres temporary and subject to review by Congress within three years. 

Many of America’s most cherished public places, from Statue of Liberty to Giant Sequoia National Monument, were first protected under the Antiquities Act. More than 30 national parks, including Grand Canyon National Park and Pinnacles National Park were originally protected as monuments under the Antiquities Act.

House attempts to gut Antiquities Act–and the future of national monuments and parks | Wilderness.org

How did your Representative vote? The scoundrel Republican Steve Pearce voted against preserving and for exploitation. Democrats Grisham and Lujan voted for preservation.

Final Vote Results for Roll Call 147

BILL TITLE: To ensure that the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 applies to the declaration of national monuments, and for other purposes

Final Vote Results for Roll Call 147

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 Posted by at 9:08 pm
Mar 262014
 

It has taken me years to finally visit this area I have driven by countless times. This pleasant spring afternoon, people walked among the buildings and played frisbee over the arroyo, while a class of young students sat in grass under a spreading tree.The landscaping and surrounding architecture make this a fabulous walk in the middle of the city with amazing views of the Sandias. This is also a birding hotspot, though not on the occasion of my first visit.

I applaud the architects, planners, and builders for this area. However, it was a terrible mistake to allow the AC systems on the back of the building adjacent to this space — those should be on the roof. This adds unnecessary noise to an area that already suffers from the adjacent Interstate. (Perhaps this should be a requirement of zoning codes.) The smoking area behind one of these building should also be moved — gag, people, take a walk and stop killing yourselves and the rest of us.

select for Bing Mag

lots of great reflections in this area

North Pino arroyo

one of MR's favorite buildings in Abq

Journal Center green space

Journal Center green space

Journal Center green space

Journal Center green space

real and reflected trees are wonderful, plus I like that one can see all the way through to the other side of the building

lots of bold colors inthe area to contrast with the very soothing green

Journal Center green space

See all 11 photos in album format.

Comments

 Posted by at 11:10 am
Mar 242014
 

In New Mexico, we have coyote slaughters by similar morons.

10,000 Birds | Rip Van Winkle’s Crow Killing Contest

The “Crow Down” is a “hunting contest” where both adults and children slaughter as many crows as they possibly can in two days. Why do they do this? Look at the Maryland-based website Crow Busters, although I warn you you’ll need a strong stomach for the photographs. Here is a direct (and unedited) quote:

“… keep in mind the main reason why experienced crow hunters got into the sport in the first place, Fun. Plain old fashioned Fun.”

Some people think it’s just plain fun to kill enormous numbers of animals and pile up their bodies, and when there’s no “bag limit” it’s legal to do so. …

[The King of the morons, may he rot in hell,] … lives in Kansas and in December 2013 celebrated killing his 150,000th crow. On the website he reminisces fondly about his “best hunt,” where he killed 3,125 crows in 9 days…

It also brings to mind the uncontested link between animal abuse and violent behavior toward fellow humans. …

“What I want to know is: a hundred feet away, how can these people tell the difference between a crow and a raven, which is a protected species?,” [Missy Runyan, director of the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center in nearby Hunter, NY] asks.

“And how do you keep the kids safe when you’ve got dozens of people in the woods, blasting away? You shoot a bullet up, sooner or later it has to come down. How do you know it’s not going to come down on some kid’s head?”

The Crow Down does not require non-toxic ammunition, either, which means soon the woods will be filled with lead.

10,000 Birds | Rip Van Winkle’s Crow Killing Contest

This is an environmental disaster brought to you by blood-thirsty fools. A pox on every one of them. A single crow has more decency than that entire gang of killers.

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 Posted by at 7:50 pm
Mar 222014
 

Enjoy a glass of cool, clear water today and think about how essential it is to life. Then go blow up a goddamn dam. (Not a sincere call to violence.)

While we consider the fate of the Colorado and the Rio Grande, note the effort to dam the last wild river in New Mexico, the Gila. Don’t let that happen.

Robert Redford and Will Ferrell Star in PSA to Save the Colorado River

Ten major dams—from the Hoover Dam, completed in 1936, to the Glen Canyon Dam, erected in 1966—impede the waterway’s natural flow. Adding to its woes are the numerous towns and industries that siphon water from it and its many tributaries as they meander to the sea.

This predicament and a few possible solutions drive the Redford Center–produced documentary Watershed, which is set to premiere on World Water Day—March 22—on Pivot. Additionally, Raise the River and Change the Course, the social action campaign for the 2012 world water crisis documentary Last Call at the Oasis, are working together to return water to the Colorado. Donations to Raise the River will help acquire permanent water rights to the river and help rebuild 2,300 acres of surrounding habitats.

Robert Redford and Will Ferrell Star in PSA to Save the Colorado River

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 Posted by at 3:22 am
Mar 202014
 

Get out!

The Sky This Week, 2014 March 18 – 25 — Naval Oceanography Portal

The Vernal Equinox will occur on the 20th at 12:57 pm EDT despite any appearances to the contrary. At that instant the center of the Sun’s disc crosses the celestial equator above a spot located over the southern reaches of Colombia in South America. If the sun were a pinpoint of light and the Earth was a perfect sphere with no atmosphere all parts of the planet would experience exactly 12 hours of daylight and night; but the Sun subtends a disc of about 30 arcminutes’ diameter, the Earth is kind of lumpy, and we have an atmosphere. All of these factors combine to produce days and nights of “equal night” that fall a few days before the equinox, depending on location. Here in Washington our “equal night” fell on St. Patrick’s Day, so despite the snow storm daylight will exceed night from now until a few days after the autumnal equinox. We know that warmer weather will soon follow!

The Sky This Week, 2014 March 18 – 25 — Naval Oceanography Portal

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 Posted by at 10:57 am
Mar 202014
 

Seeing Equinoxes and Solstices from Space | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

The Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) on EUMETSAT’s Meteosat-9 captured these four views of the day-night terminator on December 21, 2010, and March 20, June 21, and September 20, 2011. Each image was taken at 6:12 a.m. local time.

Seeing Equinoxes and Solstices from Space | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

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 Posted by at 6:21 am
Mar 192014
 

Talk of the Town | ABQJournal Online

Help us save La Bajada Mesa

LA BAJADA MESA is one of the most stunning and scenic places in New Mexico. Driving toward Santa Fe on I-25, the reward for cresting the last long, hard climb is a vast expanse of open space where sun and shadow dance across the plain. It has been a demarcation between Rio Arriba and Rio Abajo for centuries, and it is still an iconic part of our Western landscape.

La Bajada Mesa is a focal point for artists, writers and the tourists who support our economy. It is the gateway to the Galisteo Basin parklands and an important wildlife corridor for both predators and prey.

Yet this special place is threatened by a massive, 50-acre strip mine, right in heart of La Bajada Mesa. Yes, this magnificent part of New Mexico’s landscape, ecology, history and tradition – and everything that depends upon it – is under threat of being crushed to gravel. And, in a stunning display of disregard for what it means to live in the desert in the midst of record-setting drought, the operation proposes to use 18 million gallons of precious, potable water for dust control over its 25 years of operation.

Learn more at www.SaveLaBajada.org and attend the Santa Fe County hearing at 4 p.m. Thursday at 102 Grant Ave., Santa Fe.

DIANE SENIOR, Madrid

Talk of the Town | ABQJournal Online

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 Posted by at 8:47 am
Mar 182014
 

Letters to the editor | ABQJournal Online

Industry corrupts hunting

RE: MARCH 5 OP-ED from the NM Council of Outfitters and guides

I agree with one assertion from the executive director of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides: Hunting has become an “industry.” The Council of Outfitters and Guides is a perfect example of a special interest that profits from hunting by promoting it.

Decisions made by the New Mexico Game Commission and New Mexico Game and Fish Department are much more likely to be based on the profits that industry generates than on the needs of nature. It is a vicious cycle. Hunters pay the agency in the form of license purchases and the agency makes decisions that affect how much money they can make from hunters.

Conservation and maintaining the sustainability of the entire wildlife community don’t really figure into it. As that quote says, “It is impossible to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”

New Mexico bear and cougar hunting quotas are today not based on the best available science. Trapping mid-sized carnivores like bobcats and foxes – with no quotas or bag limits at all – is done to profit from selling their fur.

New Mexico Game and Fish does not know what the populations of these species are or how they are trending. Coyotes are killed in unlimited number without any license purchase needed, so these killers are not even contributing to the revenue stream of the agency. However, this misguided arrangement does please livestock interests, yet another “industry” with its hand in the wildlife pie.

Someday, I hope hunters will return to their conservation roots. Hunters like Aldo Leopold wrote eloquently about “thinking like a mountain” and the importance of all the parts. For now, as an “industry,” hunting is losing its conservation credibility, and it is the money that has corrupted it.

MARY KATHERINE RAY, Winston

Wildlife worth more than jerks

A MAN GETS out of a truck, walks to a cave where a cougar is cornered by dogs and shoots it. And this is called hunting? I hope that serious hunters in New Mexico are outraged by the actions of this creep millionaire Jason Roselius. That cougar was of far more value to the planet than jerks like Roselius, (Larry) Webb and (Scott) Bidegain, all of whom apparently see wildlife simply as a way to make money … .”

RICHARD M. BERTHOLD, Albuquerque

Letters to the editor | ABQJournal Online

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 Posted by at 8:43 am
Mar 152014
 

The Sky This Week, 2014 March 11 – 18 — Naval Oceanography Portal

The Moon brightens the overnight hours this week, waxing to her Full phase on the 16th at 1:08 pm Eastern Daylight Time. The Full Moon of March is variously known as the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Sap Moon, or Lenten Moon. Since it occurs near the point in the sky that marks the autumnal equinox, it is one of the few Full Moons in the year that is visible from the entire surface of the Earth.

The Sky This Week, 2014 March 11 – 18 — Naval Oceanography Portal

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 Posted by at 11:08 am