Thursday, September 23, 2010

Seize The Night!

Okay Northern Hemisphere astronomers, rejoice! The Autumnal Equinox has arrived and the Sun has crossed into the Southern Celestial Hemisphere, which means that, for the next six months, the nights will be longer than the days, which means more time for stargazing. However, there is more good news to report, too:

Shortening Days “Freeze” The Sky
Around the equinoxes, the shortening/lengthening of the days is at its most extreme. While this is a bad thing in the spring as the later sunsets will lead the winter constellations to disappear very quickly, come fall, the earlier sunsets freeze the sky to summer, but only to a point. Because the Sun sets earlier each night, the summer constellations will hang around for an extended period of time as the sky will get darker each night. In fact, it is still possible to observe the Teapot into November if you have a really good Southern horizon.

Standard Time Returns
In about 6 weeks, standard time will be making a return in the United States. While the fact that the Sun sets a few minutes earlier each night helps the stars of summer stick around well into fall, turning the clock back an hour on the first Sunday of November will give observers one last time to look at the summer constellations before they inevitably disappear until next season.

For more on the Equinox:
The equinox and a magic show courtesy of the Maya
“Super Harvest Moon”
Year-long photo shoot, anyone?
It's the equinox, stand an egg on end and take a picture!
All about the Autumnal Equinox

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