PostHeaderIcon Fall Equinox Sunset Watch – 2013 – Toddler Special and ISON Q&A

Back on. See you in a few minutes!


It’s pouring rain, and if you’ll look below, absolute soaking rain (not just drizzle) is a reason I might cancel the sunset watch. Sadly. Take yourselves and your toddlers out to splash in the puddles somewhere closer to home, then turn in for a nice warm drink and reading your favorite book.
I recommend: Kitten’s First Full Moon in honor of Moon festival this past week.


It’s time for the 18th seasonal sunset watch!! 

I’ll be doing two special things for this special sunset watch: First, I’m going to bring some toddler-focused activities. I don’t know exactly what they are yet – but I have some books, a fluffy stuffed solar system (only if it isn’t raining), and some dances we can do. I know it is nearly bedtime, but bring your toddlers and preschoolers out for a special early-childhood edition of the sunset watch.

Second, I’m going to be available to answer questions about preparing for viewing Comet ISON in November (or right now, if you’re ambitious). I’ll do this part after the sunset and after the toddler activities have wrapped up a bit. That’s because you grown-ups and older kids have a slightly easier time waiting than the little ones.

  • When: Sunday, September 22 at 6:51pm (so come at 6:30pm)
    • Actual sunset is supposed to be at 7:06pm, but at the last 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 1:45pm… 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.
Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto

Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto, skyseeker

Come watch the fall equinox 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!

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):

Sunday 22 September 2013 Pacific Daylight Time

Begin civil twilight 6:26 a.m.
Sunrise 6:57 a.m.
Sun transit 1:02 p.m.
Sunset 7:06 p.m.
End civil twilight 7:37 p.m.

Moonrise 8:08 p.m. on preceding day
Moon transit 3:19 a.m.
Moonset 10:40 a.m.
Moonrise 8:42 p.m.
Moonset 11:43 a.m. on following day
Phase of the Moon on 22 September: waning gibbous with 88% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated.

Full Moon on 19 September 2013 at 4:13 a.m. Pacific Daylight 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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