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!
If you have not yet bought your tickets for tonight’s show at Emera Astronomy Center, stay home! As of 1:30pm when I called today, there was only one ticket left. Additionally, Emera could not confirm whether the Bangor Symphony Orchestra’s ensemble would perform tonight, per the original schedule. There are over thirty tickets available for next week, when the Bangor Symphony’s brass ensemble will perform for sure, so perhaps we’ll see you then.
It’s official. We have a small, confirmed contingent meeting at DRA for a star party, tonight (Saturday, January 28, 2017) at 6:00pm. Everyone is welcome to join us, and would surely add to the fun. DRA reports that the field is free of snow, right down to the bare grass, and the parking lot is plowed. Skies are expected to be surprisingly good, possibly with some scattered clouds clearing early.
Damariscotta River Association Community Land Trust
110 Belvedere Road, Damariscotta, ME 04543
The Gods of the Clouds may yet allow Saturday night’s star party at DRA, but they are taunting us in anticipation, with the usual varied weather forecasts. The Clear Sky Chart predicts clear skies, but MeteoBlue.com hedges for bundles of dense, low-level clouds. It’s too early to call, but not to confirm that the party would actually be attended. If you’ll be there, please send an email.
Just in case the weather turns bad, here is a dose of virtual astronomy:
We know the Web site is still gosh-awful slow, but we’ll be moving it to a faster host.
The Central Maine Cloud Watching Society announces a cloud watching party at DRA this Saturday, January 28, 2017, at 6:00pm. If, by some misfortune, the clouds clear, we’ll substitute a star party instead, hosted by the Central Maine Astronomical Society. Join us at:
110 Belvedere Road, Damariscotta ME 04543
(I’ve never tried this tactic before. Maybe it will appease the Gods of the Clouds, guaranteeing us clear skies in the midst of this stormy winter. If there can not be a star party this Saturday, watch for notices of flash mobs in the coming weeks. One never believes the specific dates of long-term forecasts, yet there appears to be a good chance that one or two upcoming, weekday nights will actually have clear skies.)
Bless the clouds!