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Saint Patrick's Day – Wearing the Cosmic Green
Saint Patrick's Day is associated with the shamrock and the color green. Although there don't seem to be any cosmic shamrocks, there are many green phenomena in the skies. Discover a beautiful green nebula, what excites electrons and why con men sold “comet pills”.
The vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere (autumn equinox in the southern hemisphere) is coming early this year. It will occur on Friday, March 20. You can read more about the spring equinox and some of its festivals here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182925.asp
*Solar Eclipse on the Equinox*
There will be a solar eclipse on the vernal equinox - first day of spring – visible in parts of the northern hemisphere. The last time there was a total solar eclipse on day of the spring equinox was in the 17th century.
North Americans will miss out completely on this eclipse, though there are some good ones coming up in a few years which will be visible there. The only land area where totality might be seen is the Faroe Islands and the Norwegian island of Svalbard. However there's a partial eclipse for all of Europe, parts of north Africa, the Middle East and north central Asia. All that's needed is some clear sky and some eclipse viewers. Here's a map showing the path of the eclipse: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/250090585534189309/
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is lined up between the Sun and the Earth so that it blocks the Sun. This is a kind of syzygy. Syzygy is explained here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300637.asp And more about solar eclipses here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art28395.asp
*Happy Birthday, Caroline Herschel*
Caroline Herschel was born on March 16, 1750. She was an intelligent young woman trapped in domestic servitude by her mother. Her brother William rescued her and trained her as a singer. But after he discovered the planet Uranus, the two of them ended up forming a great partnership whose work revolutionized the study of astronomy. Besides assisting her brother, Caroline discovered a number of comets, galaxies, star clusters and nebulae. You can read more about here here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art32051.asp
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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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