Signs of March

Astronomically speaking, there are many things to be looking forward to. The Spring Equinox is coming up, March 20th, which means it’s fireball season! If you haven’t heard of this little known astronomer holiday, a week before and a week after March 20 marks the ascent and descent of Earth’s perpendicular position on its own axis.

Fireball season refers to the opportunities to see meteors we don’t normally get to see, don’t really know much about, or haven’t ever seen before. The Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, where essentially our North Pole is ‘right at the top’ and our South Pole is ‘right at the bottom,’ bring us the two days out of the year where we have nearest equal amounts of day and night.

Because of that, where our Earth is ‘straight up’ on its axis, we get to see parts of our night skies that we don’t normally see all year. These rare meteors, with March 20th being the peak, aren’t necessarily classified or belong to any particular meteor shower. So get out there very soon stargazers to catch some ‘shooting stars!’

waxwingsSee full image here.

As far as wildlife here on our blue marble is concerned, we at the Fairbanks Museum have all been excited to see a large flock of Bohemian Waxwings frequent our campus in the early and late mornings. When they appear in our area, usually around this time, it means they are migrating from their normal home in the north, north west of the North American continent.

It’s funny, viewing their distribution on this map here, when looking for the state of Vermont – we are well on the cusp of their territory – lucky us!

I know we stargazers are just waiting for spring to truly knock upon our door, with any bit of more luck, Vermont’s winter will be over by the end of April! When we can look forward to the Lyrids Meteor Shower . . . !

May the force be with you.

 

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