PostHeaderIcon Winter Solstice Sunset Watch – 2012 (NOT the end of the world)

It’s time for the 15th seasonal sunset watch!!

Also, no, the world isn’t ending, the planets aren’t aligning, gravity isn’t shifting. Go donate to your favorite science education or critical thinking organization in solidarity with scientific thinking.

  • When: Friday, December 21 at 4:05pm (so come at 3:45pm)
    • Actual sunset is supposed to be at 4:20pm, but at the summer solstice we noticed that the Sun set about 10 minutes earlier than the USNO says it does, so I’ve moved the time of our sunset watch up so we don’t miss it. Last autumn the timing seemed to line up correctly – what will it do this time?
    • The equinox moment is at 3:12am… but we’re watching the sunset not the sunrise because of how the park lines up.
  • Where: Solstice Park – all the way up the hill from the tennis courts (or, if you’re not in Seattle, wherever you have a view of the western horizon!)
  • Who: Everyone welcome, as usual.

Sunset on September 23, 2011 Image credit: Jason Gift Enevoldsen

Come watch the winter solstice sunset at Solstice Park in West Seattle on Saturday the 22nd. We’ll see if the sunset lines up with the placed marker. I’ll be there even if it is cloudy because sometimes the Sun peeks through just as it begins to set, but if it is driving rain or sleet I’m staying home with some hot tea! This year I’ll be there NO MATTER THE WEATHER: ice, sleet, snow, pouring rain, or even (as unlikely as it might be) sunshine. I want to make sure you have someone to answer your 2012 questions.

If you’re interested – here’s the timing of various celestial events ¬†from Seattle, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department:

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for Seattle, King County, Washington (longitude W122.3, latitude N47.6):
Friday 21 December 2012 Pacific Standard Time

SUN
Begin civil twilight 7:19 a.m.
Sunrise 7:55 a.m.
Sun transit 12:08 p.m.
Sunset 4:20 p.m.
End civil twilight 4:57 p.m.

MOON
Moonrise 12:01 p.m. on preceding day
Moonset 1:29 a.m.
Moonrise 12:26 p.m.
Moon transit 7:24 p.m.
Moonset 2:32 a.m. on following day

Phase of the Moon on 21 December: waxing gibbous with 66% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated.

First quarter Moon on 19 December 2012 at 9:20 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

This event is my part of the NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program, and thanks to West Seattle Blog for publicizing the last few!

Everyone is welcome, see you there!

~ A l i c e !

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