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STEM Ed Announcement: Sunwheel and Sky-Watching Events Mark Spring Equinox



This is  a UMass Amherst event.
 Contact information is below.
 ==============================================      
 
 
 UMass Amherst Sunwheel and Sky-Watching Events Mark the Spring
 Equinox on March 20
 
 The public is invited to witness sunrise and sunset
 associated with the spring equinox among the standing stones of the
 UMass Amherst Sunwheel on Thursday, March 20 at 6:45 a.m. and 6 p.m.
 These Sunwheel events mark the astronomical change of seasons when
 days and nights are nearly equal in length.
  
 At the gatherings, which have attracted more than 10,000 visitors
 over the past 17 years, local Sunwheel enthusiasts Michelle and Andy
 Morris-Friedman will discuss the astronomical cause of the suns
 changing position during the hour-long gatherings. They will also
 explain the seasonal positions of Earth, the sun and moon, phases of
 the moon, building the Sunwheel, and answer questions about
 astronomy.
  
 The exact time of the vernal equinox this year is 12:57 p.m. Eastern
 Daylight Time. This ushers in the beginning of spring and is also the
 day the sun rises into the sky to be visible for six months as seen
 from the North Pole, and the day it sets for six months as seen from
 the South Pole.
  
 On the equinox, an observer located on the Earths equator will see
 the sun pass directly overhead at local noon, and that person will
 cast no shadow at noon. On any day other than the equinox, either
 Earths northern or southern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun.
  
 For observers, except those at the North and South Poles, the sun on
 the equinox (for equi, equal and nox, night) rises due east and sets
 due west and stays up for 12 hours and down for 12 hours. From the
 Sunwheel in Amherst, observers see a very lovely sight as the sun
 rises and sets through the stone portals in the east and west
 directions, says UMass Amherst astronomer Judith Young, who brought
 the standing stones to campus nearly 20 years ago.
  
 Teachers can earn certificates of participation for attending
 seasonal gatherings at the Sunwheel, details at:
 www.astro.umass.edu/~young/pdp.html
  
 The UMass Amherst Sunwheel is located south of McGuirk Alumni
 Stadium, just off Rocky Hill Road (Amity St.) about one-quarter mile
 south of University Drive. Visitors to the Sunwheel should be
 prepared for especially wet footing this year. Rain or blizzard
 conditions cancel the events. Donations are welcomed and will be used
 to help with the cost of additional site work at the Sunwheel and
 future events.
  
 More information: http://www.umass.edu/sunwheel/
  
 

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