Friday at 2:45 p.m. the sun crosses the celestial equator, an imaginary line in the heavens above the earth’s equator. We’ll experience one of those cosmic events marking the passage of this big blue marble around the sun. You may know that event as “spring.”
Not that an actual spring will happen on Friday. Your seasons may vary and are not necessarily current at latitude 59 degrees north and some change. This year, we had another name for spring — “February.” All the signs we expect in late March or early April happened then. Varied thrush sang, grass started to grow and crocuses popped up.
Weather aside, the equinox also marks the day when everyone gets 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night, more or less. Fun Latin fact: “equinox” means “equal night,” which shows that Romans must have been pessimistic, else they would have said “equisol,” for “equal day.” Now’s when we put the pedal to the metal and really start getting sunshine.
Around the world, ancient astronomers built monuments marking the change of the season. Chicken Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, has to be coolest one. On the equinox, Kukulkan the snake god slithers down the face of the pyramid. The sun shines on the western face, and seven triangles form to make the body of the serpent as it moves down the pyramid, meeting a stone serpent’s head at the bottom.
Wouldn’t that be neat to have a monument like that in Homer? We’d have to have something like a big salmon to mark the Winter King Salmon Tournament which happens around the equinox — 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Baby, it might be cold outside, but the return of the sun means it’s getting brighter if not warmer, and that means lots of cool things to do outside, like some of these Best Bets:
BEST REV IT UP BET: Who says a Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center After Hours Event has to be in an office? Celebrate one of Homer’s fine businesses when Bald Mountain Air Service this month is the host. Check out big shiny planes, enjoy refreshments and mingle from 5-6:30 p.m. today at Bald Mountain’s hangar on FAA Drive near the airport.
BEST ROLLICKING BAND BET: Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance” premiered 135 years ago, but the musical still holds up smashingly because, well, pirates. The annual Homer High School spring musical production opens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mariner Theatre.
BEST ONLY A TEST BET: The weekly tsunami warning siren test is 1 p.m. every Wednesday (or noon outside of Daylight Saving Time), so don’t be alarmed when between 10:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. next Wednesday you hear sirens going off. It’s only a drill. The hospital also holds emergency preparedness training 8 a.m.-5 p.m. today-Sunday.
BEST ALL THE BUZZ BET: The other day on a trip down from Anchorage, the Betster noticed the road caution sign by Potter Marsh said “Driving buzzed is a DUI.” Yup, there’s another indication that marijuana is now legal in Alaska. How should we regulate commercial sales? How should we restrict other aspects of legal pot? Join the “Community Conversations About Cannabis” from 4-6 p.m. Saturday at the Kachemak Community Center.