Search Google

Current Issue





Volume 15, Issue 10 ~ March 8 - March 14, 2007

It’s a Topsy Turvy-World

A few observations can turn the world upside-down

The waning moon rises in the east-southeast at midnight Friday and then crests the horizon more than an hour later each following night. Not only does the moon rise later, it also rises farther south.

In fact, the entire nighttime ecliptic is shifting in sync with our changing seasons. An imaginary path through the heavens on which the sun, moon, planets and zodiacal constellations travel, the ecliptic at sunset cuts a shallow diagonal from east to west. Just months ago, at winter solstice, the evening ecliptic was its farthest north, arching from the east-northeast to the west-northwest.

Now, the evening ecliptic shifts counter-clockwise, its eastern point dipping and its northern point climbing. This reaches its most pronounced on summer solstice, when the ecliptic at sunset skews from south-southwest to north-northeast. Thereafter, like a pendulum reversing direction, the ecliptic shifts clockwise.

Long ago, such simple observations led a few great minds to conclude that the earth was round and circled the sun. At the time, this was heresy. Today, however, these same ideas are our own dogma. Which just goes to show what a topsy-turvy world it is.

Equally topsy-turvy is this year’s implementation of Daylight Saving Time, which begins Sunday, March 11, three weeks earlier than years past. Remember to set your clocks ahead one hour.

Brightening these darkened mornings are Saturn low in the west, Jupiter high in the south, joined by the moon Sunday and Monday, and Mars, then Mercury, rising ahead of the sun.


Illustration: © Copyright 1925 M.C. Escher/Cordon Art-Baarn-Holland; Graphics: © Copyright 2007 Pacific Publishers. Reprinted by permission from the Tidelog graphic almanac. Bound copies of the annual Tidelog for Chesapeake Bay are $14.95 ppd. from Pacific Publishers, Box 480, Bolinas, CA 94924. Phone 415-868-2909. Weather affects tides. This information is believed to be reliable but no guarantee of accuracy is made by Bay Weekly or Pacific Publishers. The actual layout of Tidelog differs from that used in Bay Weekly. Tidelog graphics are repositioned to reflect Bay Weekly’s distribution cycle.Tides are based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are positioned to coincide with high and low tides of Tidelog.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.