The Sky This Week, 2019 December 3 – 10 — Naval Oceanography Portal
This week we begin to see the phenomena associated with the winter solstice. The solstice “season” begins with the year’s earliest sunsets, which occur all of this week. Here in Washington the Sun disappears below the horizon at 4:46 pm EST. He will gradually start to set later starting on December 13th. Although this gives the illusion of the days getting longer, we won’t see our latest sunrise until early January. In between the solstice occurs on the 21st, which will be the year’s shortest day. This seemingly odd behavior is due to the way we now keep time.
December’s Full Moon is variously known as the Long Night Moon, Old Moon, or the Moon Before Yule. Since this Full Moon occurs closest to the winter solstice is will be the most northerly one of the year, beaming down on the frosty landscape below.
Western Wildway – Wildlands Network
In western North America, Wildlands Network envisions the world’s most extensive network of protected, connected lands: the 6,000-mile Western Wildway, also know as the Spine of the Continent.
Caja del Rio
As part of the Western Wildway Priority Wildlife Corridor, Caja plays a critical role in connecting a vital wildlife corridor that runs along the Upper Rio Grande Watershed from the state of Colorado through New Mexico. The plateau and canyons are vital habitat for a diverse range of plants and animals. Beyond the large, iconic predators and prey, the Caja is home to gray fox, badger, burrowing owls, mountain plover, long-billed curlew, and spotted bat. A threatened songbird, the gray vireo, can be spotted among the junipers and piñons on the plateau. The Caja is one of the last great opportunities to protect the West as it has existed for thousands of years.
The Bedside Book of Birds : NPR
On May 28, 1854, William David Thoreau, who earned some of his keep by collecting specimens for science, wrote in his diary: “The inhumanity of science concerns me, as when I am tempted to kill a rare snake that I may ascertain its species. I feel that this is not the means of acquiring true knowledge.”
I feel this way about banding, as well. I understand the defense of the practice but wonder if we can’t move on to less intrusive observations.
‘You’re Invisible, But I’ll Eat You Anyway.’ Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR
how does an above-ground fox catch an underground mouse? Well, the answer is nothing short of astonishing.
Remarkable video and conclusions. (A pox on anyone who would kill such a magnificent creature.) [via a favorite blog: https://www.southernrockiesnatureblog.com/
Southern Rockies Nature Blog: What Would a Mountain Lion Eat for Thanksgiving?
Deer, you say? That might be a good answer, insofar as a common formula is that an adult must eat a deer-size animal every week to ten days. But down on the Rio Grande north of Albuquerque, researchers at the Pueblo of Santa Ana Department of Natural Resources collared and tracked one male who specialized in badgers.
I wonder if the same people who hate coyotes also hate cougars.
Meet The Rare Sea Wolves Who Live Off The Ocean And Can Swim For Hours – Healthy Food House
McAllister explains: “We know from exhaustive DNA studies that these wolves are genetically distinct from their continental kin. They are behaviourally distinct, swimming from island to island and preying on sea animals. They are also morphologically distinct — they are smaller in size and physically different from their mainland counterparts.” Paquet maintains that these types of coastal wolves aren’t an anomaly, but a remnant: “There’s little doubt these wolves once lived along Washington State’s coast too. Humans wiped them out. They still live on islands in southeast Alaska, but they’re heavily persecuted there.”
Remarkable photos at the link.
ScribeFire – Chrome Web Store
An easy-to-use blog editor lets you post to all of your blogs.
Cacao came from a region 1,200 miles south of Chaco, so its presence at Chaco a millennium ago, as well as the discovery there of thousand-year-old parrot feathers and skeletons, indicates that the early Pueblo people who lived at Chaco were exchanging goods with their southern neighbors before the Spanish arrived around 1500.
Clipped from: https://www.abqjournal.com/1369016/chaco-canyon-is-focus-of-unm-professors-work.html
The Moon brightens the evening sky this week, waxing toward the Full phase as she courses through the late autumn and early winter constellations. Full Moon occurs on the 13th at 7:06 pm Eastern Standard Time. December’s Full Moon is known as the Moon Before Yule in the skylore of European Christianity. Other names, such as the Cold Moon, Big Moon, and Long Night Moon, reflect the influence of Celtic and Native American lore. December’s Full Moon occurs near Luna’s most northerly declination for the year, flooding the winter landscape with her pale light. This year she appears a bit brighter than usual thanks to the Full phase occurring near the Moon’s close perigee, which falls on the 12th. On the evening of the 12th you’ll find the nearly-full Moon pass through the heart of the Hyades star cluster which forms the “face” of Tauris, the Bull. Watch Luna creep closer to the bright star Aldebaran as the evening passes. At 11:07 pm EST the star will wink out as the Moon’s limb covers it. You can see it re-appear at 12:21 am.
The Full Moon washes out the annual Geminid meteor shower, which peaks on the night of the 13th. This is normally one of the year’s most reliable showers, and under dark skies it usually produces one or two “shooting stars” per minute. The meteors are generally slower than the August Perseids, and the radiant, in the constellation of Gemini, is well-placed after around 10:00 pm. Bright moonlight will hamper the number of meteors that the average observer will see this year, but a patient observer may be able to spot 20 or so per hour, even from urban locations.
2016 Ends with Three Supermoons
Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other (apogee). The word syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun, and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. When perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a supermoon!
This coincidence happens three times in 2016. On October 16 and December 14, the moon becomes full on the same day as perigee. On November 14, it becomes full within about two hours of perigee—arguably making it an extra-super moon.
The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century. The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.
Full Moon occurs on the 16th at 12:23 am Eastern Daylight Time. October’s Full Moon is popularly known as the Hunter’s Moon. The geometry of the Moon’s path in the sky is similar to last month’s Harvest Moon, so the interval between successive moonrises around the time of Full Moon causes Luna to appear to rise at nearly the same time for a few nights. In September this phenomena was used by farmers to use the light of the rising Moon to help them bring in more crops. This month hunters have a bit of extra light to pursue game across the stubble of the harvested fields.
I’m linking to this capture the map by Catherine Gilman of these pre-Hispanic cultural areas. I have not heard of Patayan or Trincheras cultures.
Aaron Wright, Preservation Archaeologist
[Aaron Wright is] also in the midst of applying for a series of grants to continue our research along the lower Gila River. These efforts are designed to expand our knowledge of the Patayan tradition, at least how it was expressed in southwest Arizona. Patayan is the least understood late prehispanic cultural tradition in the U.S. Southwest. Some may even claim that Patayan isn’t even a Southwestern archaeological tradition: don’t believe them! Granted, Patayan isn’t covered in our college courses on Southwest archaeology, but this is because little research has even been done on this aspect of the past.
Archaeological cultures of the Southwest. Map by Catherine Gilman. Courtesy of Desert Archaeology, Inc.
Along the lower Gila, Patayan is expressed in fabulous geoglyphs and extremely dense galleries of rock art adorning black volcanic cliffs and weathered granitic boulders. It is also found among the dozens of villages sites strategically placed to harness floodwater from the lower Gila in order to irrigate crops of corn, melons, gourds, and cotton. Yes, I’m talking about sedentary agricultural villages. Are we to believe that the rock art and geoglyphs were crafted by phantoms? The lower Gila contains some of the best-preserved, and most of the only extant Patayan villages. This is because damming and extensive agriculture have obliterated much of the Patayan signature from the valleys of the lower Colorado River, the epicenter of the Patayan World.
The Sky This Week, 2016 August 9 – 30
Full Moon occurs on the 18th at 5:27 am Eastern Daylight Time…. August’s Full Moon is popularly known as the Corn Moon, Grain Moon, or Sturgeon Moon, indicating the time of year when crops mature for the harvest and fish return to their spawning grounds.