8:00 p.m., Fri., Sept. 17th (18th rain date)
Marine Elementary School Grounds
People from our past can come back to haunt us sometimes—and often in good ways! Many years ago, when I was a high school teacher, I taught a young student named Mike Lynch. He was a cheerful and earnest student but little did I know that he would go on to WCCO weatherman fame for over 30 years! Even my brother listened to ‘CCO radio every morning at breakfast and tuned to the daily weather through Mike.
Some years ago Mike sent me a book he’d authored with photos and text about the night sky, joking that he’d learned something in my English class. I realized that he had a wealth of knowledge and love for the sun, moon and stars—and our galaxy. So, when our GreenStep Dark Sky team was looking for an expert on the stars I thought of Mike—who then graciously accepted our invitation to celebrate the Fall Equinox with us here at the Marine Elementary School grounds.
The word “equinox” comes from Latin aequus, meaning “equal,” and nox, “night.” On the equinox, day and night are roughly equal in length. The fall equinox is the astronomical start of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere and of the spring season in the Southern Hemisphere.
During the equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator”—an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator line into space. The equinox occurs precisely when the Sun’s center passes through this line. When the Sun crosses the equator from north to south, this marks the autumnal equinox; when it crosses from south to north, this marks the vernal equinox.
After the autumnal equinox which is Sept. 22 in 2021, the Sun begins to rise later and nightfall comes sooner. Some of us find the transition to longer darkness hard to adjust to. However, looking up and seeing all the treasures of the night sky with a more practiced eye can help us appreciate this darker time of year. Then, with the December Winter Solstice, the days start to grow longer and the nights shorter.
Save the date and join us for a family friendly star-gazing evening!