Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Argentina: The FAO 2nd Great Skywatch Rained Out









The FAO 2nd Great Skywatch Rained Out

By Luis Burgos (FAO / ICOU) – Ovnis Siglo XXI

Cars loaded with passengers, gear, food and zeal were well on their way toward the mysterious area of El Nido (“The Nest”), specifically the Ferrari Iron Bridge between Routes 2 and 36. The looming clouds did not make dent in the enthusiasm of the more than thirty adventurers , willing to take on the elements,  in making the FAO 2nd Great Skywatch a success. A day similar to the one experienced in February 2020 at Punta Piedras, with a record of 58 skywatchers, was now relegated to  second place, as the party now numbered in excess of sixty, coming from La Plata, Villa Elisa, Gran Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, Dolores, Brandsen, Chascomús and Mar del Plata.

But Lady Weather did not look favorably upon this. Even so, half of the potential attendees decided to defy the menacing storm and head to Ferrari. Our FAO team (Lucia Lopez, Juan Lanza, Nelson Polanco and Luis Burgos) set out from La Plata in Juan’s 4 x 4 along Route No. 36 at around 15:15 hours to take the lead and inspect both access roads. The goal was to reach Kilometer 92, make a right, and make for the bridge, and the first 25 kilometers covered were suitable for any vehicle to transit. Questions were raised about some very dark rain clouds precisely at the skywatch location, and the omen soon came true: Just 3 kilometers from the iron bridge, the safe earth and gravel road became a mire, taking Juan’s skill at the wheel of the 4 x 4 to have it fulfill the mission for which it was built.

We immediately contacted the rest of the travelers to advise them that the skywatch was now called off, given the likelihood that at least one car would be stranded. Some fishermen coming in from Route 2 even confirmed the fact. We set up at the side of the bridge and planted our FAO banner as standard before the curious eyes of fishermen who surely did not understand the purpose of that cloth with an ET’s face, waving in the breeze.

Some hours went by, and between sips of mate and communication with the other members who had cancelled the trip, the sky began to clear out over some areas, and even a giant cloud over the River Plate assumed the shape of an Adamskian mothership. The afternoon went by and we decided to wait a little more, setting up at the very same place where the Great Skywatch was scheduled to take place. With an unclouded ribbon of stars, but a horizon brimming with electric storms around 20:50 hours, our good friend the International Space Station appeared overhead from the Northeast with a magnitude of -2.9. And if that wasn’t enough, a few flashes from LUCI accompanied the moonless night.

We headed back to La Plata around 22:00 hours, with Juan making his way across the waterlogged road, avoiding several skunks crossing our path. We figured out possible dates to make up for failed Sunday, February 14 skywatch – a date on which “lovers” of the sky were unable to honor the festivities of the day.

[The article contains wonderful photos and video clips of Ferrari Bridge, the FAO members and the landscape. Please visit OVNI Siglo XXI at:]

 [Translation © 2021 Scott Corrales, IHU with thanks to Luis Burgos and the members of FAO]