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STEM Ed Announcement: Solstice Sunwheel & Sky-Watching Events
- To: xxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: STEM Ed Announcement: Solstice Sunwheel & Sky-Watching Events
- From: "Mort Sternheim" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:14:03 -0500
This is a UMass Amherst program.
Contact information is below.
Sunwheel and Sky-Watching Events Mark Winter Solstice on Dec. 21
The public is invited to witness sunrise and sunset associated with the
winter solstice among the standing stones of the UMass Amherst Sunwheel
on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Heavy rain, snow or
dangerous winter conditions will cancel the gatherings.
Sunwheel events mark the astronomical changes of the seasons. The
winter solstice marks the date when nights are longest and days are
shortest in the Northern Hemisphere and the sun rises and sets at its
most southerly location along the horizon, over the southeasterly and
southwesterly stones in the Sunwheel, respectively.
At the hour-long gatherings, UMass Amherst astronomer Stephen Schneider
will discuss the astronomical cause of the suns solstice or standstill.
This refers to the fact that the sun appears to rise at a fixed spot on
the southeast horizon for more than a week, and to set in a fixed
southwest direction similarly.
Schneider will explain the seasonal positions of Earth, the sun and
moon, moon phases, building the Sunwheel and discuss other calendar
sites such as Stonehenge and the Karnak Temple in Egypt. He will also
be happy to answer other astronomical questions. If it is clear before
sunset, a solar telescope will be set up to safely observe the surface
of the sun.
The instant when the sun reaches its most southerly apparent position
occurs at 6:03 p.m. local time on Dec. 21. However, Sunwheel visitors
who stop in on their own will be able to see the sun rising and setting
over the winter solstice stones from roughly Dec. 16 to 26.
Teachers can earn certificates of participation for attending seasonal
gatherings at the Sunwheel. Contact Stephen Schneider at
email@example.com for more information.
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
freezing temperatures and wet footing. Rain or blizzard conditions
cancel the events. A $3 donation is requested to help with the cost of
the additional site work and future events.
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