skytalk

Tilting toward the summer season


Monday was an important day for folks who are sick of winter—the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox! The tilt of Earth’s rotational axis allowed for equal hours of daylight and darkness.

What does this look like at the equator? At the North Pole? How about the South Pole? Little discrepancies distort the true meaning of the word “equinox.” The hours of daylight and darkness are more equal at the equator than at the poles.

Pan,  Saturn’s ‘flying saucer’-shaped moon was photographed by the orbiting Cassini spacecraft. This orbits as a shepherd moon in the 325-mile-wide space known as the Encke Gap.  See images here: https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/galleries/raw-images/

Venus is almost gone from the night sky; it exchanges positions with Mercury while Mars is still hanging. Jupiter well up by 10 PM. Pre-dawn Saturn and Jupiter sit in the south and south-western sky at 5:45 AM.