The Seasonal Almanac shares nature and astronomical events for February and March 2000.
Seasonal Almanac for February and March 2000
1 Don't miss the spectacular close pairing moon and Venus in the hour before sunrise tomorrow;, in 1920, barometer climbs to over 31 inches of mercury (extremely high) in Maine and northern New England; in 1790, first meeting of U .S. Supreme Court; National Freedom Day (commemorates passing of 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery).
2 Groundhog Day (if groundhog sees his shadow, legend says we'll have six more weeks of wintry weather); Candlemas, feast of the purification of Mary; in 1976, from Delaware to Labrador a powerful storm sends temperatures plummeting by as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit in a few hours and produces winds up to104 mph at Culter Maine, U.S. -Mexican War comes to an end, 1848.
3 In 1966, Luna 9 becomes first unmanned spacecraft to soft-land on the moon; temperature hits 27 degrees Fahrenheit in downtown Miami, Florida, 1917.
4 Today/tomorrow is halfway point of winter; Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto, born 1906.
5 NEW MOON, 8:03 A.M. EST; Chinese New Year, Apollo 14 lands on the moon in 1971.
6 Waitangi Day in New Zealand; in 1971, Alan Shepard hits golf balls on the moon; accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
7 Look for fairly bright Mars more than l0° (more than one fist-width at arm's length) above the thin crescent moon in west at nightfall (much brighter Jupiter and somewhat brighter Saturn stand well above Mars); in 1904, Baltimore fire destroys 2,600 buildings; in 1984, Bruce McCandless becomes first person to make untethered spacewalk.
8 Mars to lower right of moon at dusk and in early evening; Jules Verne born 1828; Boy Scouts of America founded 1910.
9 Battle of ironclad ships Monitor and Merrimac ( Monitor was victorious), 1862.
10 Moon near bright Jupiter this evening; start looking (with binoculars at first) very low in west/northwest about 30 to 45 minutes after sunset find the fairly bright point of light that is the planet Mercury.
11 Moon near Saturn tonight; National Inventors Day; Thomas Alva Edison born 1847; first landing of the space shuttle at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, 1984.
12 FIRST QUARTER MOON, 6:21 P.M. EST; Lincoln's Birthday.
14 St. Valentine's Day; in 1982, hurricane-force winds and heavy seas kill more than a hundred people on an oil rig and freighter along the East Coast.
15 Susan B. Anthony Day; U S. battleship Maine is sunk in 1898; Lupercalia, ancient Roman feast of fertility and fruitfulness; Mercury at greatest evening elongation from the sun; look for the little planet about 18° (almost two fist-widths at arm's length) lower right of Mars 45 minutes after sunset.
16 Sun enters constellation Aquarius.
17 Constitution Day (delegates sign,1787).
18 Jefferson Davis inaugurated president of the Confederacy this day in 1861; Clyde Tombaugh discovers the planet Pluto in 1930, in 1979, start of snowstorm that dumps 187" of snow an Washington, D C, in 18 1/2 hours; San Francisco hits 80 degrees Fahrenheit in 1899
19 FULL MOON (Snow Moon, Hunger Moon or Wolf Moon), 11:27 A.m. EST; sun enters astrological sign Pisces; first part of Mir space station launched into orbit in 1986.
20 World War I Battle of Verdun begins in 1916; in 1962, John Glenn becomes first American to orbit the Earth.
21 Presidents' Day; Washington Monument dedicated, 1885; in 1971, tornadoes kill 121 in Louisiana and Mississippi.
22 Washington's Birthday.
23 In 1969, start of five-day snowstorm that leaves 26 inches in Boston and 97.8 inches on Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
24 William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody born 1846.
26 LAST QUARTER MOON 10:53 P.M. EST; Grand Canyon National Park established 1919; Grand Teton National Park established 1929.
27 Ralph Nader born 1934.
29 Leap Day, and an unusual one; in 1980, Mars and Jupiter have conjunction at near brightest for the only time in 286 years, with the full moon nearby.
1 Watch the line of three bright planets in the west after nightfall each day this month: tonight, this line of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars (from upper left to lower right, with Jupiter by far the brightest) is a little less than 30° (about three fist-widths at arm's length) long, but by month's end the line will be almost three times shorter; Yellowstone National Park founded 1872, first such park in the world; St. David's Day in Wales.
2 Tomorrow, look for slender moon to right of bright Venus, low in east/southeast about 45 minutes before sunrise; Texas Independence Day and Sam Houston Day.
3 Alexander Graham Bell born1847; 54 people killed by tornado that hits Jackson, Mississippi, in1966.
6 NEW MOON, 12:17 A.M. EST; Fall of the Alamo, 1836; in 1872, temperature hits low of 3 degrees Fahrenheit in New York City, -8 degrees Fahrenheit in Boston.
7 Shrove Tuesday; Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday"); "The first pleasant days of spring- come out like a squirrel and go in again."- Henry David Thoreau, 1855; Alexander Graham Bell awarded first patent for telephone in 1876, four days after his 29th birthday.
8 Ash Wednesday, start of Lent (this is the latest date for Ash Wednesday since 1943); moon to left of Mars at dusk tonight; International Women's Day.
9 Moon left of Jupiter and lower left of Saturn, forming a glorious triangle with the two (and note Mars to lower right of them all) at nightfall; work starts on 789-mile-long Alaskan oil pipeline this day in 1975.
10 Alexander Graham Bell transmits first complete intelligible sentence by telephone, 1876; in 1960, large snowfalls across the southeastern part of the country: 10 inches in Georgia, 15 inches in Virginia, 22 inches in Tennessee and 24 inches in Kentucky.
11 Sun enters constellation Pisces.
12 Girl Scouts founded 1912; in 1967, start of four-day California storm that brings 96 inches of snow to Squaw Valley and winds of up to 90 mph in mountain passes.
13 FIRST QUARTER MOON, 1:59 A.M. EST; great auroral display this day in 1989 is associated with solar storm, which knocks out electricity to 6 million customers in Montreal (we're at solar maximum again now, see box, page 92 of this issue); Commonwealth Day in the UK.
14 Albert Einstein born 1879.
15 Andrew Jackson Day in Tennessee; the Ides of March, when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. ; from now until March 20 is the Zoroastrian holiday, Hamaspathmaedaya ("Feast of Heavenly Souls")
16 Sun enters constellation Aquarius.
17 St. Patrick's Day; World Maritime Day; in Middle Ages, this was popularly thought to be the day Noah and company boarded the ark.
18 Sun enters astrological sign Pisces; Alexei Leonov takes first ever spacewalk, 1965; Tri-State Tornado kills 695 people in Midwest in 1925.
19 FULL MOON, 11:44 P.M. EST; the swallows return to Capistrano .
20 Vernal Equinox (start of spring), 2:36 A.M. EST - the earliest start to spring on the calendar since the year 1896; sun rises due east and sets due west today all over the world, and day and night are of about equal length; sun enters sign Aries at the equinox.
21 Jewish holiday, Purim.
22 Earliest possible date for Easter (the latest is April 25; this year it falls on April 231; in 1946, U.S. missile launched from White Sands, New Mexico, reaches altitude of 50 miles.
23 World Meteorological Day; in 1775, Patrick Henry declares, "Give me liberty or give me death!"; tornado on Easter hits Omaha, Nebraska, and kills 94 people in 1913.
24 St. Gabriel's Day; death of English Queen Elizabeth I, 1603; in 1912, Kansas City sees 25 inches of snow in 24 hours.
25 First Maryland colonists land on St. Clement's Island, 1634.
26 Last Sunday in March; in Britain, clocks are set one hour forward for "Summer Time" (in most of the U.S., the clock change occurs on first Sunday in April)
27 LAST QUARTER MOON, 7:21 P.M. EST; in 1980, Mount St. Helens stirs from long sleep and begins to erupt (the climactic eruption was not to come for another two months; Great Alaskan Earthquake, measuring at least 8.4 on Richter scale, kills 114 people in 1964.
28 In 1920, 28 killed by tornado, Chicago's worst; accident at Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, 1979; in 1984, a single supercell thunderstorm produces 12 tornadoes along a 320-mile path in the Carolinas.
29 In 1921, Washington, D.C., temperature drops from 85 degrees Fahrenheit to 26 degrees Fahrenheit; Vietnam Veterans' Day (withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam in 1973).
30 President Ronald Reagan shot by John Hinckley Jr., this day ins 1981.
31 March "goes out like a lamb"?