Celestial Seasonings – April 2021

By Heather Durham | March 31, 2021

Greetings folks! It’s long overdue for adding a photo or two. I found this one and thought I would add it along with this month’s only meteor shower. Enjoy! There will be more in future postings.


April 1. The Moon will be in its final quarter.

April 6. The Moon and Saturn will rise in close proximity with each other.

April 7. The Moon and Jupiter will rise tonight in close proximity of each other.

Lyrid Meteor Shower
April Lyrids Over Thanlyin (Yu Aung Thu/AFP/Getty)

April 17. Mars and the Moon, in close proximity to each other will rise tonight.

April 20. The Moon will be at first quarter.

April 22. The Lyrid meteor shower from the Constellation Hercules will be at its peak. Earth will pass through the Comet C/1861 Thatcher, causing this event. The Lyrids are the oldest recorded meteor shower, first observed in China in 690 BCE. Occasionally, the Lyrids can produce up to 100 meteors per hour even though they are generally weak.

April 26. The Moon will be full.


References:

Anonymous. (2021, February 2). Lyrids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyrids

Debczak, M. (2021, March 15). Dont Miss The Lyrid Meteor Shower Lightning Up The Evening Sky in April 2021. Retrieved from www.mentalfloss.com/article/643660/lyrid-meteor-shower-april-2021

Ford, D.F. (2021, March 20). Calendar of Astronomical Events. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/newscal.php?month=4&year=2021&maxdiff=1#datesel

Thu, Y.A. (2018, April 17). April Lyrids Over Thanlyin [Photograph]. Retrieved from www.space.com/40303-lyrid-meteor-shower-best-photos.html

Vaughan, K.V. (2021, March 16). Heres When You Can See The Lyrid Meteor Shower in 2021. Retrieved from www.marthastewart.com/8075855/lyrid-meteor-shower-april-2021

Celestial Seasonings – March 2021

By Heather Durham | February 28, 2021

Daffodils by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

(Ed.: William Wordsworth would seem to have been a favorite poet of Milton’s Rev. Newell Wordsworth Whitman, who chose it for his middle name (As Walt Whitman was apparently another favorite poet)).


March 2 – Mercury will shine brightly as it moves to half phase.

March 5 – The Moon will be in its last quarter.

March 6 – Mercury will be moving away to its furthest place from the Sun.

March 9 – The Moon and Saturn will rise and travel close to each other.

March 10 – The Moon and Jupiter will rise together.

March 19 – The Moon and Mars will rise closely to one another.

March 20 – This is the first day of spring when everyone both in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres have close to equal 12 hours of daylight as well as 12 hours of night. The Sun makes it’s annual trip through the Constellations bringing it across the celestial equator.

March 21 – The Moon will be at first quarter.

March 28 – The Moon will be full. It will appear larger and brighter and will be high in the sky. There are many Moon names, but this one, whereas it is the first occurrence of a full moon following the spring equinox, may be referred to as the Egg Moon. Venus will delight us for being at its brightest.


References:

In The Sky. (December 28, 2020). Night Sky Guide. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/data/data.php

Khurana, Simran. (2020, August 27). William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ Poem. Retrieved from thoughtco.com/quotes-about-daffodils-2831299

Wikipedia. (2020, February 18). William Wordsworth. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wordsworth

Celestial Seasonings Special Report: Groundhog Day 2021

By Heather Durham | February 1, 2021

GROUNDHOG DAY – February 2, 2021

February 2 is the pivot point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, Groundhog Day.  The largest celebration in the U.S. is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where the folklore has it that their groundhog(woodchuck), named Punxsutawney Phil, emerges from hibernation on either a sunny day when he may be able to see his shadow or a cloudy day during which time, poor Phil won’t be able to see his shadow.  Accordingly, if Phil sees his shadow, we can expect six more weeks of winter, otherwise spring is on it’s way.

2021 brings us to the 135th year of their celebration which usually draws about 40,000 people. This year during our Covid pandemic, Punxsutawney Phil will be wearing a mask like the others in attendance. No fans will be allowed to attend and the others will be socially distant while the celebration will be held inside behind closed doors.

Regardless, you will be able to view this year’s events by clicking on the following: Groundhog Day 2021 Livestream, Punxsutawney, PA (Begins at 6:30 AM).

Groundhog Day - 2021GROUNDHOG DAY HISTORY

There are several cultures that celebrate this time of year.  Our traditions stem from the Pennsylvania Dutch who immigrated from German speaking countries of Europe. For Christians, February 2, also begins the celebration of Candlemas which is most widely known as a Catholic as well as Lutheran festival who accepted the same folklore as Groundhog Day. For the Celts, it meant looking forward to the birth of farm animals along with crop planting- time of Imbolc. There was a belief that bears and badgers came out of hibernation on this day during the Middle Ages. Many celebrations around the world occur on this date.

Victor Hugo, in “Les Misérables,” (1864) discussed the day as follows:

“…it was the second of February, that ancient Candlemas-day whose treacherous sun, the precursor of six weeks of cold, inspired Matthew Laensberg with the two lines, which have deservedly become classic: ‘Qu’il luise ou qu’il luiserne, L’ours rentre en sa caverne.’

[Let it gleam or let it glimmer, The bear goes back into his cave]” (Hugo, 1864).

At this point, you are probably wondering how Groundhog Day became so popular here, especially in Pennsylvania. Well, the city editor of a publication named Punxsutawney Spirit, Clymer H. Freas, became deeply intrigued by a group of groundhog hunters during the 1880’s. He repeated the folklore every year and embellished it to promote Punxsutawney Phil as the great long range weather forecaster.  These stories were told in other newspapers and publications to such an extent that Punxsutawney Phil and his predictions became known throughout the world.


References:

Breyer, Melissa. (2018, October 11). Punxsutawney Phil Is Correct Only 52 Percent of the Time. Retrieved from https://www.treehugger.com/punxsutawney-phil-correct-only-percent-time-4848611

Gunther, Shea. (2020, January 31). 6 Things Most People Don’t Know About Groundhog Day. Retrieved from https://www.treehugger.com/things-most-people-dont-know-about-groundhog-day-4862460

Holiday Insights. (2021). Groundhog Day 2021. Retrieved from http://www.holidayinsights.com/other/ghog.htm

Hugo, Victor. “Les Misérables.” Trans. Fahnestock and MacAfee, based on Wilbour. Signet Classics, NY, 1987. p. 725.

McLendon, Russell. (2020, January 31). Why Do We Celebrate Groundhog Day? Retrieved from https://www.treehugger.com/why-do-we-celebrate-groundhog-day-4862765

VisitPA. (2021, January 25). Groundhog Day 2021. Retrieved from https://www.visitpa.com/article/groundhog-day

VisitPA. (2021, February 2). Groundhog Day 2021 Livestream. Retrieved from https://www.visitpa.com/live-stream-phils-prediction

Wikipedia. (2021, January 29). Groundhog Day. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day

Celestial Seasonings – February 2021

By Heather Durham | January 31, 2021

This February is not only the shortest month of this year, but astronomical events as well are few and far between this year. Be on the lookout tomorrow, for a Celestial Seasonings special post about the story of Groundhog Day. There’s more to it than that which was written for us in the poem below. It is celebrated every February 2, the midpoint between the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

Groundhog Day
By Nancy Hughes

Out of his hole, he poked his snout
and wondered what all the fuss was about.
They snatched him up and named him Phil
Then took him to a Pennsylvania hill.

He lives up there in luxury
to predict spring’s arrival for you and me.
Just once a year he’s on display.
They’ve even named it Groundhog Day!

He’s quite amazed, he must confess,
that his shadow has brought him so much success.
He’ll never retire … not ever, no way.
He has the best job in the whole USA!


February 2 – Groundhog Day

February 4 – Today, we will have the last quarter of the Moon.

February 18 – The Moon and Mars will rise together as well as close to each other, in the evening sky. The Moon will be 7 days old.

February 19 – This day will bring the first quarter of the Moon.

February 24 – Mercury will ascend to its highest point in the sky this evening.

February 27 – The Moon will be full today. Because this is the third Moon of Winter 2021, this one is known as the Lenten Moon.


References:

In The Sky. (December 28, 2020). Night Sky Guide. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/data/data.php

Scrapbook.com. (January 29,2021), Groundhog Day. Retrieved from www.scrapbook.com/poems/doc/12880.html

Celestial Seasonings – January 2021

By Heather Durham | December 31, 2020

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” – Aristotle.

January 2. The Earth will make its closest approach to the sun in its annual orbit.

January 3. Today we will have the Quadrantid meteor shower of the new year. This is from the Constellation Bootes. This named shower occurs in January and can be as rich and prolific as the Perseids or the Geminids. At times lasting for only a few hours, this will be at its peak intensity. Showers may seem faint in the night sky.

January 6. The Moon will be in its final quarter.

January 19. Today will bring another meteor shower: the y-Ursae Minorid from the Constellation Ursa Minor. This Constellation is also known as Little Bear when compared with Ursa Major.

January 20. The Moon will be at first quarter today.

January 21. Today, the Moon and Mars will rise closely with one another. Uranus will be joining the Moon and Mars. Mars is almost the smallest planet with the exception of Mercury. Uranus has 27 known moons.

January 23. Mercury will reach its greatest separation from the Sun today.

January 25. Mercury will reach its half phase today. This event may be a bit difficult to see with the naked eye.

January 26. Mercury will reach it’s highest point in the sky tonight. It is the smallest planet as well as the one closest to the Sun.

January 28. Full Moon today. Whereas it’s the second full Moon of winter, some refer to it as the Wolf Moon.


References:

In The Sky. (December 28, 2020). Night Sky Guide. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/data/data.php

Wikipedia. (2020, November 23). Mars. Retrieved from en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars

Wikipedia. (2020, October 17). Mercury. Retrieved from en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury

Wikipedia. (2020, December 4), Quadrantid Meteor Shower. Retrieved from en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrantid_meteor_shower

Wikipedia. (2020, November 20). Ursa Minor. Retrieved from en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursa_Minor

Celestial Seasonings – December 2020

By Heather Durham | November 30, 2020

December 21 brings with it the final solstice of 2020 – the Winter Solstice along with an astronomical once in a lifetime event that last happened in 1623. Here is a quote I selected to describe this solstice.

There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you … In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. – Ruth Stout.

December 5. The φ-Cassiopeid [Phi-Cassiopeid] meteor shower, from the Constellation Andromeda, will show this date. It will be prevalent throughout the night.

December 7. Today, we will have the last quarter of the Moon.

December 8. The Monocerotid meteor shower in the Constellation Monoceros, will be on display. This will remain active until dawn.

December 11. The σ-Hydrid [Sigma-Hydrid] meteor shower, from the Constellation Hydra, will put on a show. As was the case with the Monocerotid shower, this too, should be visible until dawn.

December 14. Yet another meteor shower – the Geminid, in the Constellation Gemini, will sprinkle the evening skies on this date. Yet another one with prime viewing near dawn.

December 15. The Comae Berenicid meteor shower, from the Constellation Leo, will be great today. This should be around until after dawn breaks.

December 16. The Moon and Jupiter will rise closely to one another.

December 17. The Moon along with Jupiter and Saturn will rise closely to one another.

December 19. The Leonid Minorid meteor shower, from the Constellation Leo Minor, should be prolific today. It’s best show will be at 5:00 EST.

December 21. Today is the midwinter solstice – the shortest amount of daylight. Jupiter and Saturn will rise very closely to one another [The Great Conjunction]. These two planets haven’t risen this closely since 1623. The Moon will be at first quarter.

December 22. We will be delighted with the Ursid meteor shower, from the Constellation Ursa Minor today. This will be active throughout the night.

December 23. The Moon and Mars will rise closely to one another.

December 29. This date will bring us the first full Moon of winter. It is referred to as the Old Moon.


References:

Hunt, Jeffrey L. (2020, February 20). 1623: The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Retrieved from whenthecurveslineup.com/2020/02/20/1623-the-great-conjunction-of-jupiter-and-saturn/

In The Sky. (2020, November 28). Night Sky Guide. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/data/data.php

Wikipedia. (2020, October 14). Coma Berenicids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coma_Berenicids

Wikipedia. (2020, November 4). Geminids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geminids

Wikipedia. (2020, November 29). Great Conjunction. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_conjunction

Wikipedia. (2020, November 26). Leonids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonids

Wikipedia. (2020, November 21). Monocerotids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monocerotids

Wikipedia. (2020, July 23). Sigma Hydrids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigma_Hydrids

Wikipedia. (2020, April 18). Ursids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursids

Wise Old Sayings. (2020 November 27). Winter Sayings and Winter Quotes. Retrieved from www.wisesayings.com/winter-quotes/#ixzz6f1YQxqKw

Celestial Seasonings – November 2020

By Heather Durham | October 31, 2020

“The turkey. The sweet potatoes. The stuffing. The pumpkin pie. Is there anything else we all can agree so vehemently about? I don’t think so.” – Nora Ephron.


November 8. Today brings the last quarter of the Moon. Mercury will rise to half phase and will be shining brightly.

November 9. Mercury continues to rise to it’s highest point.

November 10. Mercury will be far away from the sun in its orbit.

November 12. The northern Taurid meteor shower should put on a prolific display. This is from the Constellation Taurus. The Moon and Venus will rise closely to one another this evening.

November 17. The Leonid meteor shower will be prolific this evening. This shower is from the Constellation Leo. The Pleiades open star cluster from the Constellation Taurus will rise to it’s highest point in the sky.

November 19. The Moon and Jupiter will rise close to each other as will the Moon and Saturn.

November 21. The Monocerotid meteor shower from the Constellation Canis Minor will put on an eventful display this evening. The Moon will be at first quarter.

November 25. The Moon and Mars will rise closely to one another.

November 28. The Orionid meteor shower from the Constellation Orion should produce a dazzling display.

November 30. The third full Moon of autumn known as the Oak Moon will shine brightly this evening. There will be a lunar eclipse as the Moon orbits the Earth’s shadow.


References:

Country Living. (2020, October 12). 73 Best Thanksgiving Quotes to Share With Loved Ones Near and Far. Retrieved from www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g2059/thanksgiving-quotes/

In the Sky. (2020, October 28). Guides to the Night Sky. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/data/data.php

Wikipedia. (2020, April 21). Alpha Monocerotids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Monocerotids

Wikipedia. (2020, October 13). Leonids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonids

Wikipedia. (2020, October 1). Orionids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orionids

Wikipedia. (2020, October 10). Taurids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurids

Celestial Seasonings – October 2020

By Heather Durham | September 30, 2020

Hi everyone! This month we will have a blue moon on Halloween. A blue moon is named as such for it means the second occurrence of a full moon within any given month. Blue moons are relatively rare. The first moon following the autumnal equinox is called the Harvest moon. This year’s blue moon is referred to as the Hunter’s moon.

As well, this month we will be able to enjoy several meteor showers which are always a treat for our star gazers.

Now let’s delve into the details of astronomical events during October of this very strange and stressful year of 2020!


October 1. Mercury will orbit far away from the sun. Today, we will have a Full Moon known as the Harvest Moon for it is the first Full Moon to rise since the beginning of autumn.

October 2. The Moon and Mars will rise close to each other with the Moon passing just below Mars.

October 3. The Moon and Mars will make a close approach.

October 5. The October Cameloparalid meteor shower from the Constellation Draco will peak. (See 209P/LINEAR below).

October 6. Half of Mercury can be seen.

October 8. The Draconid meteor shower from the Constellation Draco will be at peak.

October 9. Today will bring the last quarter of the Harvest Moon.

October 10. The Southern Taurid meteor shower will peak today from the Constellation Cetus.

October 11. The Aurigid meteor shower from the Constellation Auriga will peak today.

October 13. Mars can be viewed from the Constellation Pisces. The Moon and Venus will rise and travel close to each other.

October 18. The Geminid meteor shower from the Constellation Gemini will peak today.

October 21. The Orionid meteor shower from the Constellation Orion will peak today.

October 22. The Moon and Jupiter will rise close to each other. The Moon and Saturn will rise.

October 23. The Moon and Saturn will rise in conjunction. The first quarter of the Blue Hunter’s Moon will be visible.

October 24. The Leonis Minorid meteor shower from the Constellation Leo Minor will peak today.

October 29. The Moon and Mars will rise and travel close to each other.

October 31 (Halloween). The Blue Hunter’s Moon will be full today. Splendid for Trick-or-Treat outings.


References:

In-the-Sky.org. (2020, September 27). Guides to the Night Sky. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/

Marcels. (1961). Blue Moon. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0fy1HeJv80

Wikipedia. (2020, July 4). 209P/LINEAR. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/209P/LINEAR#Associated_meteor_showers

Wikipedia. (2020, April 22). Aurigids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurigids

Wikipedia. (2020, June 19). Draconids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draconids

Wikipedia. (2019, December 25). Geminids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geminids

Wikipedia. (2020, September 14). Harvest and Hunter’s Moons. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_moon#Harvest_and_hunter’s_moons

Wikipedia. (2020, April 21). Leonis Minorids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonis_Minorids

Wikipedia. (2020, August 13). Orionids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orionids

Wikipedia. (2020, August 17). Taurids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurids

Celestial Seasonings – September 2020

By Heather Durham | August 31, 2020

Autumn Fires, by Robert Louis Stevenson

In the other garden.
And all up in the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over,
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

September 3. The Fruit Moon will be full. (Fruit Moon is a whimsical name for the Full Moon phase known also as the Corn Moon, or Barley Moon).

September 6. The Moon and Mars will rise closely to one another.

September 7. Venus will travel to it’s highest point in the sky.

September 9. The Perseid meteor shower will be prolific today when the celestial focal point shines above the horizon.

September 10. This brings us to the last quarter of the Fruit Moon.

September 14. The Moon and Venus will rise and travel close to each other.

September 21. Mercury will reach its highest point in the sky.

September 22. This is the first day of Autumn 2020 (the September Equinox). The Sun will rise due East and set due West.

September 23. This day will bring the first quarter of the Harvest Moon. It will be full on October 1. (The Full Moon following the Harvest Moon will be the Hunter’s Moon).

September 25. The Moon and Jupiter will ascend close to each other. The Moon and Saturn will do the same.

September 27. This will be the prime day for viewing the Daytime Sextantid meteor shower. These can be difficult to see as they appear on the eastern horizon near the rising Sun. (Do not look directly at the Sun). Just before sunrise might be best.

References:

In-the-Sky.org. (2020). Guides to the Night Sky. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/newscal.php?year=2020&month=9

Pan McMillan. (2020, August 18). Ten Autumn Poems. Retrieved from www.panmacmillan.com/blogs/literary/poems-poetry-about-for-autumn-keats-frost-classic

Universe Guide. (2020). Daytime Sextantids Meteor Shower. Retrieved from www.universeguide.com/meteorshower/daytimesextantids

Wikipedia. (2020, August 26). Full Moon. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_moon

Wikipedia. (2020, August 12). Perseids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids

Wikipedia. (2020, August 21). September Equinox. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_equinox

Celestial Seasonings – August 2020

By Heather Durham | July 30, 2020

Most Jupiter-sized planets orbit the mother star in a highly elliptical orbit. This means they will often cross the orbit of any Earth-like planet and fling it into outer space, making life impossible. But our Jupiter travels in a near-perfect circular orbit preventing a collision with any Earth-like planet, making life possible. – Michio Kaku


August 1. The Moon and Jupiter will rise and appear to travel close to one another.

August 2. The Moon and Saturn will rise and appear to travel close to one another.

August 3. Today, there will be a full Moon.

August 9. The moon and Mars will rise and appear travel close to each other.

August 11. This date, we will have the last quarter of the Moon.

August 12. This will be the best day for viewing the Perseid meteor shower. Venus will be shining brightly.

August 13. Venus will be far away from the sun allowing it to shine brightly in the sky.

August 15. The Moon and Venus will rise and appear to travel close to each other.

August 17. The k-Cygnid meteor shower will be prolific.

August 25. The Moon will be at first quarter.

August 28. The Moon and Jupiter will rise and appear to travel close to each other.

August 29. The Moon and Saturn will rise and appear to travel close to each other.

August 31. The Aurigid meteor shower will put on a display.


References:

BrainyQuote. (2001). Outer Space Quotes. Retrieved from www.brainyquote.com/quotes/michio_kaku_818170?src=t_outer_space

in-the-sky.org. (2020, July 29). Guides to the Night Sky. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org

Wikipedia. (2020, April 22). Aurigids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurigids

Wikipedia. (2020, April 22). Kappa Cygnids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kappa_Cygnids

Wikipedia. (2020, July 1). Perseids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids