So you packed your lawn chairs, binoculars, bug repellant, picnic dinner, and companions into the jalopy and headed out to the beach or the Everglades, away from the ambient light of the city, to watch the Geminids asteroid shower, only to end up seeing nothing but cloud cover. Now it's constellation consolation time. Tonight the orbit of Mars will bring the Red Planet as close to Earth as it gets. So pack your lawn chairs etc. and head to the southwest pavilion (bay side) of Bill Baggs State Park, where the Marswatchwill take place.
The Southern Cross Astronomical Society will provide high-tech equipment and guidance for viewing the fiery planet and the bed of glittering stars around it. Along with Andromeda and sundry nebula and clusters, you'll enjoy the oceanic surroundings. Viewing at the dark-sky site begins at sunset (about 5:30) and ends at 9 (park gates close at 8). During those hours, the fee is four dollars, plus the $1.50 toll on the Rick. Call 305-361-8779 or 305-661-1375. Visit www.scas.org.
Fri., Dec. 28, 2007