First installment of
Birds and Stars - What's up in New Mexico skies
Who hasn't seen the comet gracing our northeastern sky?
It's p17 Holmes, a member of the Jupiter family of comets. It orbits between Jupiter and Mars and is usually fainter than Pluto, but at the end of October, this comet brightened over a million times and became visible to the unaided eye! It was easily visible for a few weeks and now (as the dust of its coma has spread over an area as large as the Sun), is visible through binoculars in the city. Just look next to the brightest star in Perseus (see finder chart).
For more help finding the comet, go see a planetarium show at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History !
Those who want to see an endangered species back at home in its natural habitat should head down to the Bosque del Apache south of Socorro! One of the Aplomado Falcons (a juvenile female), raised in Ted Turner's captive breeding program has taken up residence (for the time being) near the Flight Deck in the refuge. On your way in, check out the visitor's center for notes on where he was last seen. Visit the Friends of the Bosque del Apache page for information about the refuge.
Keep your eyes and ears to the sky, because Sandhill Cranes are still migrating south for the winter. Many are already here, but due to the warm weather, many are still up north and should be making their way here now! To hear their distinctive call (my FAVORITE sound in the world), go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds site.