Sunday, Eta Aquarids and Opposing Moons

It is a warm, crisp and clear, spring evening. The stars are bright and Sirius cast an angry  glow in in the west as I walked home from a local pub with my husband. I live in a historic neighborhood filled with older homes and midwestern attempts at English gardens. Literally 1000s of plants are in bloom, and everything is breathtakingly beautiful. I only wish (to steal a phrase from a student) the trees would stop fornicating in my sinuses. I have hay fever. Bad hay fever. There aren’t enough over-the-counter drugs style hay fever. I will live, but it has been hard to write coherently about the stars while wishing only to find the perfect combination of wasabi and jalapeno to provide temporary relief. The world needs more wasabi peas.

This weekend is a confluence of facinating easy to see sky events. Sunday is the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Tomorrow is the last fingernail of morning crescent moon rising Sunday morning in the East, and the barest fraction of crescent moon (this time the other side though) setting in the west. This sort of opposing crescents in 2 days appearance is only possible because the moon is on its closest approach to Earth and is thus moving faster in its orbit then during the rest of the month. This alignment of the moon being closest to Earth and New doesn’t happen very often, so we get a special treat.

So, if my dogs wake me up in the pre-dawn hours on Sunday (or my sinuses), I’m going to trundle outside and sit on my back stoop watching the stars fall and the moon fade to new.

And, I’m going to enjoy Sirius in the West as long as we can. As the dog star moves closer to the Sun, the dog days of summer will come upon us. Sirius will be inline with the Sun (depending on your location) around July 4th. As long as I can see Sirius in the evening, I know that the heat of St Louis Summer still is at least a little ways in the summer.

Go out. Look up.

hat tip to Chris re eta Aquarids

2 Comments

  1. John M. May 3, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    Interesting that you describe Sirius’ glow as angry. I always thought it was rather a cold glow.

    You should get some drugs for that hay fever. They’ve got stuff now that will really dry you out without making you drowsy.

  2. SF Reader May 6, 2008 at 12:40 pm #

    A co-worker once remarked, upon my noting a smear of pollen on his hat, that he’d been raped by a tree on his way to the T…

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