Wednesday, December 2, 2009

South America Day 14: The Southern Cross

We are slowly proceeding toward Puerto Madryn in Argentina, through moderate seas and strong winds. It's another lazy day at sea. I think it's Wednesday.

10:35 PM:

Dad and I indulged a desire to see the Southern Cross. For days he's been asking anyone from the Southern hemisphere what it looked like and where to find it in the sky, but no dice. Finally he got out his compass - yes, he carries one, are you surprised? - and he figured out approximately where South is. We went up on the Sun Deck and located what seems to be the right constellation - about the right height above the horizon, in the Milky Way (according to the Encyclopedia this is correct) - it's good enough for me. This:


is more or less what we were looking at (except the red lines!)

Since we were out in the middle of the Atlantic at the time, there was none of that light pollution you get in the suburbs - the only competition the stars had was from the ship's own lights. I think cruise ships should offer a Star-Watching Night where they leave out the uppermost deck's chaise lounges after dark and turn off all possible ships lights for an hour or so. I bet there would be a lot of takers!

We tried for awhile to find the Southern Cross again from our balcony. Dad finally looked at the waves and realized our cabin was looking North at the time. Oops!

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