Another, unofficial New Year

20 April 2010

For anyone looking for another reason to celebrate, it’s in the stars

Today, April 20th, is the day when the Sun passes into the Astronomical constellation of Aries. If it were possible to see the stars during the day, then we would see the stars that make up Aries forming a background to the Sun’s apparent course across the sky.

Aries, considered to be the first sign of the western zodiac, begins the cycle. As the Astronomical constellations vary in size, the sun takes a different number of days to pass through each, as noted in the table below. (see theAbysmal Calendar’s Constellation Component for full details

Constellation Symbol Begins Duration
Aries aries Apr 20 25 days
Taurus taurus May 15 37 days
Gemini gemini Jun 21 31 days
Cancer cancer Jul 22 20 days
Leo leo Aug 11 37 days
Virgo virgo Sep 17 45 days
Libra libra Nov 1 23 days
Scorpio scorpio Nov 24 7 days
Ophiuchus (Eagle) ophiuchus Dec 1 18 days
Sagittarius sagittarius Dec 19 32 days
Capricorn capricorn Jan 20 28 days
Aquarius aquarius Feb 17 24 days
Pisces pisces Mar 13 38 days

The dates noted fall one day later than those accepted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), as they have made no official announcement of a change in date in keeping with the Precession of the Equinoxes.

In essence, the Sun passes into any given constellation one day later every 72 years or so. The dates were established by the IAU in 1930, so an adjustment is overdue.

Regardless, this is a time to celebrate the passing of time on an cosmic scale, as the precession takes 25,771.5 years or so to complete. Thus, if we consider December 21st, the Solstice to be the starting point, then we have gone through 120 days thus far, leaving us with 265 left to go to complete this cycle.

So, that puts the beginning of the precession (i.e. the Sun entering Aries on December 21st) somewhere around the year 5050 BC or thereabouts. It also means that we have yet 18,711 years to go before the Sun enters Aries on the December Solstice once again.

It may help us to break away from our increasingly myopic sense of time to acknowledge such long periods, which greatly outlast our lifetimes, as well as that of our civilization. The cosmos is much larger than we are, and an occasional reminder quells excessive hubris.

At least, one hopes.

Year 10~IV Lunation 4

14 April 2010

The chronological countdown of days continues until theAbysmal Kalindar’s launch on 12~21~2012

Year 10~IV Month 4

13 April 2010

120 Weeks past, 140 to go theAbysmal Calendar’s launch: 21~12~2012

Reading List – Month 3 Year 10~IV

13 April 2010

Fun, frivolity and retrospective introspection.

Reading List:

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
Freakanomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
Albert Angelo by BS Johnson
the Adventures of English by Melvyn Bragg
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Underground: the Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche by Haruki Murakami