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Astro Bob

Hold Your Horses, Orion — The DST Police Are Here

9 Mar 2019, 18:15 UTC
Hold Your Horses, Orion — The DST Police Are Here
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The constellation Orion (right) followed by Sirius (far left) tilts off to the west around 10:30 p.m. standard time. Starting tomorrow we’ll see the same scene at 11:30 p.m., one hour later. Bob King
I was surprised several nights ago when I saw that Orion already tipping over in the west by 10:30 p.m. Is winter really on its way out? With a snowstorm in today’s forecast, I doubt it, but daylight saving time (DST) begins tomorrow, so spring must be close, right? As we set your clocks forward an hour tonight, we artificially shift the balance of day and night, taking an hour from the morning and adding it to the evening. Tonight the sun sets around 6 p.m. for many localities; tomorrow night it lingers until 7. Likewise, this morning’s 6:30 a.m. sunrise becomes Sunday’s 7:30 a.m. sunrise.
The time shift also affects the positions of the stars as read by your clock. We can check those positions using the meridian as a reference. The meridian a great circle in the sky that begins at the due south point of the southern horizon, passes directly overhead and continues to the due north point of the northern horizon. It ...

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