Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

In other articles I have talked about the connection between holidays and astronomical events, such the "cross-quarter Days" halfway between the an equinox and a solstice. These include Groundhog Day (between the winter solstice and the spring equinox), May Day (halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice) and Halloween/All Saints Day (halfway between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice). Christmas, not by coincidence, comes near the winter solstice, Easter and Passover near the spring equinox. So, a lot of our holidays are closely related to the seasons and, thereby, astronomy.

But, I can safely say that there seems to be no connection between Valentine's Day and astronomy. We are not near any major seasonal event, nor was St Valentine (take your pick which one we are talking about) associated with astronomy. So, if you have a special person, you can take them out for a special night and not have to bore them with astronomical lore about the holiday. And if you don't have a special someone, you can fully ignore the holiday and not be neglecting some very important event.

Elsewhere in astronomy, we are coming up on the 20th anniversary of the discovery of Supernova 1987A, the closest supernova to be observed during modern astronomy (and the closest to be seen since the early 1600s). As that date draws closer, I'll talk a little about how important that event was, and how much more important the next supernova in our galaxy will be.

No comments:

Post a Comment