Page 1 of 1

2020: Solstice and Equinox

Posted: March 19th, 2020, 1:36 pm
by Christopher K.
Spring 2020 for the Northern Hemisphere begins tonight at 10:50pm CDT. No matter your location on the globe, the Sun basically rises due east and sets due west. According to Joe Rao's research, this is the earliest beginning of spring for over 120 years.

During this difficult time of shutdowns and cancellations (including HRPO), we still have the stars! HRPO at this time has on-site personnel to answer questions about the ever-changing and always-exciting worlds of astronomy and the space program, and about skygazing from home during this difficult time. You should treat yourself and your family during times of clear skies by viewing sunrise or sunset, or the Moon and the planets. You can take a binocular out at night and go on a “sky expedition;” you will find astonishing clusters and maybe a nebula. The HRPO Skygazing Phone Service started today with limited hours, and begins in earnest tomorrow.

More information: ... years.html

Re: 2020: Solstice and Equinox

Posted: March 21st, 2020, 5:10 pm
by Christopher K.
In the wonderful 365 Starry Nights, Chet Raymo lists the 21 March entry as the first day of spring...
"A study of the radioactivity of rocks and meteorites indicates that the age of the Solar System is 4.6 billions years. if this is so, then our star is halfway through its life cycle--and we can safely expect another five billion verdant springs....What will become of the Earth when our star goes through its death throes in another five billion years or so? The prospect is not encouraging." For life that chooses to stay on Earth, that is. Of course, our species will be a group of star travelers by then...

The Sun sets at 7:16pm CDT, and night comes at 8:37pm CDT. Here is the NOAA forecast for 8:45pm to 10:45pm CDT...
precipitation potential, 27%
sky cover, 97%
relative humidity, 80%
temperature, 21˚C
surface wind, NE 10 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during HRPO's viewing time the transparency rating will be "too cloudy to forecast" (0 out of 5) and the seeing rating will be "average" (3 out of 5).

More information:
365 Starry Nights by Chet Raymo ("21 March" and "22 March")

Re: 2020: Solstice and Equinox

Posted: June 22nd, 2020, 5:39 pm
by Christopher K.
The summer soltice began at 4:44pm CDT this past Saturday--meaning of course the days will get shorter but hotter for several weeks. It will remain cloudy and rainy through at least Thursday.

Re: 2020: Solstice and Equinox

Posted: August 1st, 2020, 5:45 pm
by Christopher K.
According to Sky & Telescope, the midpoint of summer 2020 is Wednesday 5 August at 12:08pm CDT. This coming week has clear and mostly clear nights forecast by NOAA from tomorrow night through Wednesday night. At least one major and one minor meteor shower are active.

Re: 2020: Solstice and Equinox

Posted: September 21st, 2020, 11:32 pm
by Christopher K.
The fall equinox begins at 8:31am CDT tomorrow. The dip in low temperature is a good herald but it comes with a frustrating days-long overcast courtesy Tropical Storm Beta.