Star Calendar Planets:
Moon casts a perigee-large shadow on the earth, a total solar eclipse, just as the spring Sun rises at the north pole – after a 6-month night. Technically it is a near-miss – but the fact of atmospheric refraction makes the apparent, observable sun rise earlier than it would in a vacuum. It is during this smeared image of the Sun that a “green flash” can occur – it would be interesting to look for this phenomenon with the altered, diminished and very slowly rising Sun near totality. Will anyone trek to the polar regions for this? The path of total eclipse first traverses the mid-Atlantic on a northward track that crosses the Faeroes and Svalbard before terminating at the North Pole. A large region of partial eclipse will cross much of the Atlantic, Greenland, North Africa, Europe and Siberia. The eclipse will end at both sunrise and sunset for areas either side of the pole!
Mercury is too low in the morning to see. A tall, standing crescent Moon will rise (probably not visible either) to his left on the 19th at 6:30AM
Venus pulls away from Mars and slowly ascends with each evening appearance. A young crescent Moon will sit beside her on the evening of the 22nd.
Sun still malingers weak in spots as February closed. There remain indications of a future prolonged period of low sunspot activity – that is, there is a paucity of the usual indicator of future sunspots in polar gestation. Oh yes, and it’s SPRING! I expect our botanical spring to be rapid since the ground is already thawed out under the thick snow.
Mars is slowly losing ground to the overtaking Sun in the evening. He hosts a beautiful Grail Moon (the young, cup-like crescent that appears before Easter) on the 21st.
Jupiter is now recovering in “post-op(position)”. He remains the compliment to Venus in the evenings, holding forth in the east while she dominates the west. The Moon appears nearby twice this month, on the nights of the 2nd/3rd and the 29th/30th.
Saturn is so astonished at the calendar, when it happens to read like 5 digits of Pi (in MM/DD/YY format), that he stands still (stationary to stars) on the 14th, and begins to move backward (retrograde). Saturn rises awkwardly late these days, around midnight, and has a dawdling culmination in morning twilight, low in the deep-winter region of Scorpio. Continue reading