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Cascada de las Animas (Thurs., 3/12/09) – A River, a Full Moon, and the Southern Cross
by Sara Sahm -- March 12th, 2009

The night sky at Cascada de las Animas.

We are staying in a lodge perched on the edge of the rushing Maipo River.  Everywhere that you walk at Cascada, you cannot help but be aware of the river – the sound of its strong current can be heard everywhere.

Last night, a few of us walked down a trail close to the river on a path lit by the brilliant full moon.  The silt in the river and the striations of the rocks of the canyon wall glowed in the moonlight.  Aside from the glow of the bright moon, there were not many stars to see in the sky.  I was excited though to be able to see the Southern Cross, the Southern Hemisphere’s identifying constellation.

As we stood by the river admiring the view, I couldn’t help but think of what was obscuring my view of the heavens.  Where we are, high in the mountains, I would expect the stars to be uncountable, but instead, only a few can be seen.  I imagine that this is due to the haze and pollution from Santiago, but I can’t be quite sure.


  1. Catherine
    Mar 16, 2009

    The obstructed view was undoubtedly due to the full moon! it’s sunday night, just short of a half moon, and the sky is much more intense than it was a few days ago. (big sigh of relief…) the santiago haze has not yet extented this far up the maipo.

    • Sara
      Mar 16, 2009

      Thanks for the update Catherine. Seeing the southern night sky was one of the things I was most looking forward to when we arrived at Cascada, so I was pretty disappointed. But I’m glad to hear that the moon was most likely to blame for the obscured view.

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