Arcturus And Morning Moon Wake-up Call

Watch for the moon and the bright star Arcturus in the eastern sky at dawn tomorrow. And don’t forget to move your clocks back an hour Saturday night. Stellarium

The sun rises remarkably late in the days leading up to “falling back,” when we drop Daylight Saving Time (DST). In Chicago and Denver it comes up about 7:30 a.m and just before 8 o’clock in Duluth and Seattle. That makes it really easy to rise an hour before sunrise in the semi-dark twilight and see the brighter stars and moon before breakfast and work.

That’s exactly what I did this morning without even trying. Frost coated the stubbly lawn under a bright, thick crescent moon with Sirius twinkling off to the southwest. I took a short walk and felt refreshed, even uplifted. We have just one morning left to take advantage of these super-late sunrises before they get a whole lot colder in December. Tomorrow’s it! Starting Sunday morning, we fall back an hour, meaning that sunrise happens around 6:30 instead. I don’t know about you but for me it’s a lot harder to get up for a morning stroll at 5:30 than at 6:30-7.

Losing DST also means that sunset occurs an hour earlier. I know it means driving around in the dark more, but there’s an upside. We can see the stars during the early evening hours compared to summer when the sky doesn’t get dark until we’re ready for bed.

If it’s clear tonight, and you live in the northern border states, there’s a small chance you’ll see a minor (G1) geomagnetic storm. Look for a greenish arc or glow just above the northern horizon at twilight’s end. Then, if you’re up tomorrow morning for a mug of moonlight, look off to the northeast for a bright star. That’s Arcturus, lately of the evening sky and now returning at dawn. We associate Arcturus with spring because that’s when it’s highest in the sky during evening hours. For now, it steals away at dawn, the first sign of a season that will bring back Daylight Saving Time, late sunrises and all the rest. Cycles keep circling back to carry us forward.

2 Responses

  1. Edward M. Boll

    I think that Swift Gehrels now at near magnitude 9.5 is the easiest comet to see. Have you gotten a look at it. Starting today it is moving awAy from both Sun and Earth.

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