The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Once in a blue moon

...could be today, depending on which competing definition you use:

A blue moon is a full moon that is not timed to the regular monthly pattern. Most years have twelve full moons which occur approximately monthly, but in addition to those twelve full lunar cycles, each solar calendar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days compared to the lunar year. The extra days accumulate, so that every two or three years (7 times in the 19-year Metonic cycle), there is an extra full moon. The extra moon is called a "blue moon." Different definitions place the "extra" moon at different times.

  • In calculating the dates for Lent and Easter, the Clergy identify the Lent Moon. It is thought that historically when the moon's timing was too early, they named an earlier moon as a "betrayer moon" (belewe moon), thus the Lent moon came at its expected time.
  • Folklore gave each moon a name according to its time of year. A moon which came too early had no folk name – and was called a blue moon – bringing the correct seasonal timings for future moons.
  • The Farmers' Almanac defined blue moon as an extra full moon that occurred in a season; one season was normally three full moons. If a season had four full moons, then the third full moon was named a blue moon.
  • Recent popular usage defined a blue moon as the second full moon in a calendar month, stemming from an interpretation error made in 1946 that was discovered in 1999. For example, December 31, 2009 would be a blue moon according to this usage.

So, it's possible today's full moon is a blue moon. Or it's possible the next blue moon will occur November 21st. Or after some volcanic eruption which hasn't happened yet.

Regardless, enjoy it if you can. It only happens...infrequently.

Chicago sunrise chart, 2010

It's time for the semi-annual update of the Chicago sunrise chart. (You can get one for your own location at http://www.wx-now.com/Sunrise/SunriseChart.aspx.)

An interesting note about 2010: the sunset on November 6th will be the latest sunrise in Chicago (7:30am) until 2021—and that, only within 4 seconds of precision.

Date Significance Sunrise Sunset Daylight
2010
3 Jan Latest sunrise until Oct. 29th 07:19 16:33 9:14
27 Jan 5pm sunset 07:08 17:00 9:51
4 Feb 7am sunrise 07:00 17:10 10:09
20 Feb 5:30pm sunset 06:39 17:30 10:50
27 Feb 6:30am sunrise 06:29 17:39 11:09
13 Mar Earliest sunrise until Apr. 18th
Earliest sunset until Oct. 25th
06:06 17:55 11:49
14 Mar Daylight savings time begins
Latest sunrise until Oct. 17th
Earliest sunset until Sept. 18th
07:04 18:56 11:52
17 Mar 7am sunrise, 7pm sunset
12-hour day
06:59 19:00 12:00
20 Mar Equinox 12:32 CDT 06:54 19:04 12:09
3 Apr 6:30am sunrise (again) 06:30 19:19 12:48
13 Apr 7:30pm sunset 06:14 19:30 13:16
22 Apr 6am sunrise 06:00 19:40 13:40
11 May 8pm sunset 05:35 20:01 14:25
16 May 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:06 14:35
14 Jun Earliest sunrise of the year 05:15 20:28 15:12
21 Jun Solstice 06:28 CDT
8:30pm sunset
05:16 20:30 15:14
27 Jun Latest sunset of the year 05:18 20:31 15:12
2 Jul 8:30pm sunset 05:20 20:30 15:10
17 Jul 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:23 14:52
9 Aug 8pm sunset 05:53 20:00 14:06
16 Aug 6am sunrise 06:00 19:50 13:49
29 Aug 7:30pm sunset 06:14 19:29 13:16
14 Sep 6:30am sunrise 06:30 19:02 12:31
15 Sep 7pm sunset 06:31 19:00 12:29
22 Sep Equinox, 22:09 CDT 06:38 18:48 12:10
25 Sep 12-hour day 06:41 18:43 12:00
3 Oct 6:30pm sunset 06:50 18:29 11:39
12 Oct 7am sunrise 07:00 18:14 11:14
21 Oct 6pm sunset 07:10 18:00 10:50
6 Nov Latest sunrise until 6 Nov 2021
Latest sunset until Feb 28th
07:30 17:39 10:09
7 Nov Standard time returns
Earliest sunrise until Mar 3rd
06:31 16:38 10:07
15 Nov 4:30pm sunset 06:40 16:30 9:49
2 Dec 7am sunrise 07:00 16:20 9:20
8 Dec Earliest sunset of the year 07:06 16:20 9:14
21 Dec Solstice, 17:38 CST 07:15 16:23 9:08

You can get sunrise information for your location at wx-now.com.

Full of sound and fury signifying...what, exactly?

A number of confusing changes occurred to the world while I slept:

  • President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. I love the man; I voted for him; I gave lots of money[1] to two of his campaigns. I'm still confused. It might offend some of my fellow progressives to say, but possibly the prize means nothing more than "thank you for not being like the last guy, and keep up the good work." The President is, in fact, the second person who is not George W. Bush to win the Prize in the last four years.
  • For reasons which passeth all understanding[2], we crashed a rocket into the moon. We want to find out if the moon has enough water to make long-term habitation possible. Otherwise, we'll have to build a pipeline from the Great Lakes, which poses certain engineering challenges.
  • Both of these stories came to me during WBEZ-Chicago's pledge week, which started yesterday. Please, I beg all my readers in Chicago, please make a donation so they'll stop begging. The only glimmer of good news in the timing of the Fall pledge drive comes in the form of an exquisite torture perpetrated upon me and my 118 classmates by Fuqua. I won't be able to listen to much NPR this weekend because:
  • I have two final exams due this weekend, both take-home, one 90 minutes long and the other with 24 hours to complete. (The clock starts when we download the exams from the school's web portal.) The professor for exam #1 says it's relatively straightforward, everyone will pass, don't worry. The professor for exam #2, who served six years on the Financial Accounting Standards Board and who drafted important regulations of the accounting profession itself, says "someone who is reasonably prepared and who doesn't need to use notes should be able to complete it in 4 or 5 hours." So, a former FASB member who's taught accounting for 30 years will find it "challenging." One hundred eighteen people started crying. (One dude in our class is an accountant who got 117 out of 120 on the midterm.)
  • The U.S. dollar continues to slide slowly into uncomfortable depths. I got an alert while writing this entry that the Canadian dollar has risen against our currency from a low of 76c in March to 95c today. We're also slipping against the Euro and the Yen, but not, I'm happy to say, against Sterling or the Emirati Dirham, the two currencies I'm concerned about in the next few weeks.[3]
  • Finally, a dear friend from North Carolina sent a delightful finals-weekend care package to Parker and me, including doggie fortune cookies and human chocolate-chip cookies. And now Parker has the whole world in his paws (see below).

[1] Lots for me, anyway; NPR wouldn't have given me a mug for the amount I gave.

[2] Aaron Sorkin's favorite phrase, from Phillippans 4:7. Yes, athiests quote Bible verses sometimes.

[3] I'm concerned because I'm about to go to Dubai, via London, for school. The Dirham hasn't changed because it's pegged to the dollar...for now.

Chicago sunrises and sunsets, 2009-2010

It's time for the semi-annual update of the Chicago sunrise chart. (You can get one for your own location at http://www.wx-now.com/Sunrise/SunriseChart.aspx.)

Date Significance Sunrise Sunset Daylight
2009
2 Jul 8:30pm sunset 05:20 20:30 15:10
16 Jul 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:24 14:54
9 Aug 8pm sunset 05:53 19:59 14:06
16 Aug 6am sunrise 06:00 19:50 13:49
29 Aug 7:30pm sunset 06:14 19:29 13:16
14 Sep 6:30am sunrise 06:30 19:02 12:31
15 Sep 7pm sunset 06:31 19:00 12:29
22 Sep Equinox, 16:18 CDT 06:38 18:48 12:09
25 Sep 12-hour day 06:42 18:43 12:01
3 Oct 6:30pm sunset 06:50 18:29 11:39
12 Oct 7am sunrise 07:00 18:14 11:14
21 Oct 6pm sunset 07:10 18:00 10:50
31 Oct Latest sunrise until 1 Nov. 2010
Latest sunset until Mar 6th
07:23 17:46 10:24
1 Nov Standard time returns
Earliest sunrise until Mar 3rd
06:24 16:45 10:21
6 Nov 6:30am sunrise (again) 06:30 16:39 10:08
15 Nov 4:30pm sunset 06:41 16:30 9:48
2 Dec 7am sunrise 07:00 16:21 9:20
8 Dec Earliest sunset of the year 07:06 16:20 9:14
21 Dec Solstice, 11:47 CST 07:15 16:23 9:08
2010
3 Jan Latest sunrise until Oct. 29th 07:19 16:33 9:14
27 Jan 5pm sunset 07:08 17:00 9:51
4 Feb 7am sunrise 07:00 17:10 10:09
20 Feb 5:30pm sunset 06:39 17:30 10:50
27 Feb 6:30am sunrise 06:29 17:39 11:09
13 Mar Earliest sunrise until Apr. 18th
Earliest sunset until Oct. 25th
06:06 17:55 11:49
14 Mar Daylight savings time begins
Latest sunrise until Oct. 17th
Earliest sunset until Sept. 18th
07:04 18:56 11:52
17 Mar 7am sunrise, 7pm sunset
12-hour day
06:59 19:00 12:00
20 Mar Equinox 12:32 CDT 06:54 19:04 12:09
3 Apr 6:30am sunrise (again) 06:30 19:19 12:48
13 Apr 7:30pm sunset 06:14 19:30 13:16
22 Apr 6am sunrise 06:00 19:40 13:40
11 May 8pm sunset 05:35 20:01 14:25
16 May 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:06 14:35
14 Jun Earliest sunrise of the year 05:15 20:28 15:12
21 Jun Solstice 06:28 CDT
8:30pm sunset
05:16 20:30 15:14
27 Jun Latest sunset of the year 05:18 20:31 15:12

You can get sunrise information for your location at wx-now.com.

A tease of spring

Spring officially begins Friday at 6:44 CDT, but today we're getting a little hint of it. Right now it's 19°C in Chicago; if it can squeak up to 22°C it will be the warmest day since October 12th.

Another trivial tidbit: because the earth's atmosphere bends the sun's rays a little, today, and not the official equinox Friday, is the day when we have 12 hours of daylight. From tomorrow until September 25th, days are longer than nights just about everywhere between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle.

Update, 14:05 CDT: Yep, we just hit 22°C, warmest temperature in Chicago for 156 days. Why am I inside?

366 days and 1 second

Turns out, 2008 will be one of the longest years ever when astronomers insert an extra second at 17:59:60 CT tonight:

The additional second makes up for the difference in two clocks – one based on Earth’s rotation and the other on the more precise atomic time of the UTC.

In the U.S., the extra second will be added by the U.S. Naval Observatory at 6:59:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (11:59:59 p.m. Universal time). It will be the 24th "leap second" tacked on to the universal time scale since 1972.

The popular press have written about this as prolonging the gloom of 2008. I don't know if that's accurate. People familiar with the structure of fiction will notice that although we had the technical climax of our present story on November 4th, the dramatic climax hasn't happened yet. I have no idea what that will look like, only that we'll probably see it in 2009, and the dénoument that follows will make us wax nostialgic about the halcyon days of 2008. Put another way: There is a tide; when you're in the trough of a wave, things don't really feel better until you've climbed halfway to the next crest.

I'm not trying to depress anyone. I just think we've got some difficult times ahead, for the simple reason that the worst really is behind us.

Enjoy the extra second.

Earliest sunset

It's a little thing, but it means our evenings won't seem as gloomy from now on: tonight's sunset in Chicago is the earliest of the year. Seriously. It has to do with the speed of the earth's orbit around the sun this time of year (it's faster, as we approach perihelion).

In any event, tomorrow night the sun sets just a few seconds later than it does tonight, which just adds a little happiness this time of year.

Chicago Sunrise Chart

It's time for the semi-annual update of the Chicago sunrise chart. (You can get one for your own location at http://www.wx-now.com/Sunrise/SunriseChart.aspx.)

Date Significance Sunrise Sunset Daylight
2008
2 Jul 8:30pm sunset 05:20 20:30 15:09
16 Jul 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:24 14:55
8 Aug 8pm sunset 05:52 20:00 14:08
16 Aug 6am sunrise 06:00 19:49 13:48
28 Aug 7:30pm sunset 06:13 19:30 13:17
15 Sep 6:30am sunrise; 7pm sunset 06:30 19:00 12:29
22 Sep Equinox, 10:44 CDT 06:39 18:48 12:08
25 Sep 12-hour day 06:42 18:42 12:00
2 Oct 6:30pm sunset 06:49 18:30 11:40
12 Oct 7am sunrise 07:00 18:14 11:13
21 Oct 6pm sunset 07:11 18:00 10:48
1 Nov Latest sunrise until 2 Nov. 2010
Latest sunset until Mar 4th
07:24 17:45 10:20
2 Nov Standard time returns
Earliest sunrise until Mar 2nd
06:25 16:43 10:18
6 Nov 6:30am sunrise (again) 06:30 16:39 10:08
15 Nov 4:30pm sunset 06:41 16:30 9:48
2 Dec 7am sunrise 07:01 16:20 9:19
8 Dec Earliest sunset of the year 07:06 16:20 9:13
21 Dec Solstice, 06:04 CST 07:16 16:23 9:07
2009
3 Jan Latest sunrise until Oct. 29th 07:19 16:33 9:14
27 Jan 5pm sunset 07:08 17:00 9:52
4 Feb 7am sunrise 07:00 17:10 10:10
20 Feb 5:30pm sunset 06:39 17:30 10:51
26 Feb 6:30am sunrise 06:30 17:38 11:08
7 Mar Earliest sunrise until April 12th
Earliest sunset until Oct. 25th
06:16 17:49 11:32
8 Mar Daylight savings time begins
Latest sunrise until Oct. 25th
07:14 18:50 11:35
17 Mar 7am sunrise, 7pm sunset
12-hour day
06:59 19:00 12:01
20 Mar Equinox 06:44 CDT 06:54 19:04 12:09
3 Apr 6:30am sunrise (again) 06:30 19:19 12:49
13 Apr 7:30pm sunset 06:13 19:30 13:16
22 Apr 6am sunrise 05:59 19:40 13:40
10 May 8pm sunset 05:36 20:00 14:24
15 May 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:05 14:34
14 Jun Earliest sunrise of the year 05:15 20:28 15:13
21 Jun Solstice 00:45 CDT
8:30pm sunset
05:16 20:30 15:14
26 Jun Latest sunset of the year 05:17 20:31 15:13

You can get sunrise information for your location at wx-now.com.