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Carol Anne

I've always kept an eye on the sun and the moon because astronomy is a hobby of mine, inherited from my dad, who was into astronomy from when he was a child and who later got a PhD in astrophysics from CalTech.

The days get shorter faster in the fall, and they get longer faster in the spring, near the equinoxes. Like you, I notice the shortening of the daylight most dramatically this time of year.

The moon, I've always been aware of. I'm more a creature of the night than of the day. Growing up, I had a picture of the moon hanging in my bedroom, a luminous image that my dad had taken through the telescope he had built for himself when he was in high school, and then developed in his own darkroom, 10-day-old waxing gibbous, with every crater and rille highlighted by the shadows created by the sun being at an angle to the contours of the surface.

It's funny, in a way -- I'm an inland sailor, and the moon has no tidal effect on the lakes that I sail upon. But the moon is so important to me that I actually have a moon-phase indicator on my blog.


Why not take a course in CelNav?


We here in the severe mental illness world often keep track of the moon phases. Really.

And, I second the suggestion on studying celestial navigation. You will be an asset to that big-boat voyage you're looking to take...


Maine is just ridiculously far east in the eastern time zone. That's why the sun sets so early - DST ends in a month for you and then there will be another hour less. Sometimes it leads one to side with those people who want Maine to use the Atlantic time zone. I'm back in Phoenix now, which stays on MST all year round, so I'm always confused about the time.

I sailed a few weeks ago back in ME at night. Could not determine the sail shape or see the telltales, but the Milky Way way was directly overhead and I could make out the paddles on the masthead wind indicator as small dark spots in the field of stars.

Carol Anne

Ah, the Milky Way. I remember Pat's first moonless summer night in the desert -- he just couldn't believe that that bright band in the sky wasn't either smog or a cloud. We sat on the hood of the car, reclining on the windshield, with the warmth from the engine radiating up from beneath, as the chill air of the evening came down from above, and we heard the clicking chirps of the bats overhead. And we looked up at the stars, and I pointed out the constellations ... up north, the Big Dipper and Polaris ... now more important since he wants to get into celestial navigation ... in the south, Scorpio, my sign: sun, moon, ascendant, and about half of my planets.

Now, at Five O'Clock Somewhere, we have the dark night skies that let us see so much more than we can when we're someplace "civilized."


I love the view of the stars from a sailboat that is anchored far from the light pollution of large cities... you see thousands more stars that are dim enough to be wiped out by light pollution closer to urban areas.

I'd second the CelNav course, or buy a sextant and get a good book on CelNav. Not only is it useful, it is a lot of fun... provided you don't absolutely hate math...since some math is required.


It was the gloaming, when a man cannot make out if the nebulous figure he glimpses in the shadows is angel or demon, when the face of evening is stained by red clouds and wounded by lights.

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