Observing with Street Lights

Observing with Street Lights
Dark sky sites not always necessary to see the Milky Way (This image was taken ouside of a B&B in Julian, CA)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Resident Astronomers tour Giza Pyramids, Karnak and Petra; still trying to photo Milky Way from cruise ship

Greetings from Palmia Observatory (now on remote location somewhere on the Red Sea),

Well the clouds and humidity and moon light and ships lights have not helped to get closer to the goal of photographing the Milky Way.  More about that later and some discussion of calculating the relative importance of ship lights versus moonlight on scattering into the camera lens, but first some travelogue discussion
So, first of all let’s check out our recent cruise location 

But back closer to the beginning, before we made our way through the Suez Canal, we had a shore excursion to Cairo, and then had lunch on a boat crossing the Nile to get to the pyramids.  The boat crossing and lunch were great and included the obligatory belly dance entertainment.

Belly dancer on our Nile river boat

Finally we got to Giza and Resident Astronomer Peggy was finally able to see the pyramids.  I had seen them before, but we never found a good time to get Peggy there until now.

Resident Astronomer Peggy sees the pyramids (Source: Palmia Observatory)

Ok, now it’s back to the bus drive across the delta to our ship docked in Saïd.  This is where the ships queue up to pass through the Suez Canal. I have always been fascinated by the locks on many of the European river cruises and hoped to see them here too, but the Suez does not have any need for locks because the Mediterranean and Red Sea are at the same level.  It takes a good part of a day to make the transition and here is one photo of our transit and a bridge across the Cana.

Making the passage through the Suez Canal on the Viking Orion (Source: Palmia Observatory)

Our next port of call on the Red Sea included another drive across the desert to visit Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.  Here is Resident Astronomer Peggy at Luxor.

Resident Astronomer Peggy at Karnak (Source: Palmia Observaory)

Back on board for dinner and a chance to relax on our private wrap around balcony.

Resident Astronomer Peggy enjoying our private wraparound veranda

Our next stop included some snorkeling in the Red Sea and then on to Aqaba, Jordan, to visit Petra.  It’s about a mile walk through the canyon, originally just an earthquake fissure, now eroded by wind and water, to the wonderful sites of Petra.

Making our way to Petra (Source: Palmia Observatory)

Here Resident Astronomer Peggy stands in front of the Treasury at Petra.

Resident Astronomer Peggy in front of the Treasury at Petra

On our way back to the shop, luckily, Resident Astronomer Peggy had requested a horse drawn carriage ride, which really made the trip back through the canyon very enjoyable, even though very bumpy and rattled every bone and joint.

Palmia Observatory Resident Astronomers use horse drawn carriage out of Petra

Oops, I’m trying to do all of this post on my IPad and I can’t figure out how to rotate the picture.  Maybe it’s just because I didn’t get along of restful sleep last night.  Our ship captain advised us of some of the security procedures being implemented because we will be passing through the straits between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and pirates are know to inhabit this area.  What, pirates?  Yeah, remember the Maersk Alabama and Captain Phillips!  We had special “passengers” and security equipment brought on board a day or so ago, and just last afternoon we met up with another ship and several boxes of security equipment were transferred on board.  I saw some new passengers, black shirted, “commando types” at breakfast, and wondered if these were the new ones brought on board.  Hmm, it has been a little hard to sleep tight when all I could imagine is pirates boarding the ship in the middle of the night.  We are probably not at high risk but it is reassuring to see the security measures put in place.

Ok, the journey continues.  Next post, I will report more on the astronomical attempts to capture the Milky Way.

Until next time,

Resident Astronomer George

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