Eyes to the Sky: Morning stargazing for late risers


We look to the sky for the weather -- to find out what shoes to wear, whether a sweater or jacket or an umbrella will be needed. The sight of the clear blue atmosphere reaches deep into our being, as does the approach of dark grey storm clouds and the fiery colors that precede sunrise and sunset.

When darkness falls at day's end, some linger to greet the moon and the stars. For others, darkness is to be avoided both in evening and morning. In an attempt to maximize daylight while maintaining the fixed schedules of an urban way of life, the questionable practice of Daylight Saving Time came to be.

In March, when clocks are set an hour ahead of solar time, daylight is extended for an extra hour after sunset. In the morning, when sunrise is at 6, it is 7 by the clock. Whereas those employed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. are happy to have more daylight hours at the end of the workday, those whose occupations are benefited by synchronizing with the sun's changing rhythm follow the seasons rather than the clock.

As autumn moves toward winter, "daylight time" is abandoned. There's a twist here: the week of dark mornings ahead, before Sunday, Nov. 3, when Eastern Daylight Time ends, is a stargazer's paradise! Sunrise will be at 7:19 tomorrow. Planet Jupiter shines near the top of the sky to the south until 7 o'clock, above the half moon. Close by, brilliant Sirius and the stars of Orion are visible until about 6:45. Look for planet Mars and Leo's Regulus to the left of Jupiter until 6:30.

This evening, sunset is at 5:57. Mighty, red-orange Arcturus shines in the west-northwest, to set at 8:08. On Saturday, Arcturus blazes above the east-northeast skyline at daybreak.

To contact Judy Isacoff, M.A. go to: www.naturesturn.org


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