Press release from the
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
(February 13, 2013) – Astronomers at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) in Rosman remind the public that at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10 Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the United States begins and we set our clocks forward one hour.
Some people get a bit confused by these changes between Standard and Daylight times thinking that somehow we really “save” time. But realize that this is NOT an astronomical phenomenon! The “lucky ‘ol Sun just keeps rollin’ along” no matter what the US Congress declares. All we are doing is simply shifting our clocks within the solar day to suit our own convenience and save energy.
By the way, when you get up at 2 a.m. on March 10 to change your clocks, walk outside. The most obvious thing you will notice is the sky is dark; there is no Moon in the sky since New Moon is the afternoon of the 11th. A little east of due south at 2 a.m., are two starlight objects. The one to the right really is a star. This is Spica the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo the maiden. To the left of Spica, actually in the western edge of Libra the scales, is the ringed planet Saturn. Take a look at Saturn with a pair of binoculars and notice that it is not round; Galileo supposedly said that Saturn looks like it has “ears.” What you’re really seeing are its famous rings.
Now, those ARE astronomical phenomena!
PARI is a not-for-profit public foundation established in 1998. Located in the Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville, NC, PARI offers educational programs at all levels, from K-12 through post-graduate research. For more information about PARI and its programs, visit www.pari.edu. Follow PARI on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Astronomy_PARI. “Like” PARI on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Pisgah.Astronomical.Research.Institute.