FEBRUARY STAR PARTY POSTPONED
CMAS is postponing the star party scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, February 25, 2017), due to clouds, clouds, and more clouds, mixed with a splash of rain. Never fear; we are rescheduling for Saturday, March 4, at 6:00pm. See you then at Brower Observatory, 341 Route 126 (Jefferson Road), Whitefield, ME 04353.
Mark your calendars also for the star party scheduled for 7:30pm on March 25 at the Damariscotta River Association, 110 Belvedere Road, Damariscotta, ME 04543 (with a rain date of April 1st). For anyone on the fence about astronomizing in the winter, come to DRA, where the heated clubhouse, with hot, running water, is only a few hundred feet away from the telescopes.
ASTRONOMY TID-BIT OF THE DAY
Note the extreme shift in the starting times between the star parties of February and March. In February, we can start at 6:00pm, because the Sun sets so early. In March, we need to start at 7:30pm, because the sun sets so much later. We round the times to even half-hours when scheduling, but the Sun actually sets over an hour-and-a-half later in March, the most dramatic shift of the entire year! In comparison, there is less than ten minute’s difference between the times of sunsets in November and December. This has something to do with the tilt of the earth relative to its orbit, and the increase in daylight hours as spring approaches. Whatever the cause, those are not typographical errors. To be wholly fair, even while CMAS celebrates the stiller, clearer air of winter, we know that observing in frigid weather is not everyone’s cup of iced tea. Fear not. As the longer daylight hours confirm, spring is coming!