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STEM Ed Announcement: Sunwheel and Sky-Watching Events Mark Spring Equinox
- To: xxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: STEM Ed Announcement: Sunwheel and Sky-Watching Events Mark Spring Equinox
- From: "Mort Sternheim" <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 20:09:00 -0400
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
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:
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
More information: http://www.umass.edu/sunwheel/
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