[ASC-media] It's high moon time at Sydney Observatory

Lomb, Nick NickL at PHM.GOV.AU
Fri Mar 17 10:13:13 EST 2006

2006 is the year of the lunar standstill and moon-watchers can celebrate
this astronomical phenomenon at two special viewings at Sydney
Observatory later this month. 

This year the orbit of the moon is aligned with the Earth so that the
moon swings far to the north and far to the south every month, reaching
a high point and low point. Referred to by scientists as a major lunar
standstill, this phenomenon was of great interest to the builders of
ancient sites such as Stonehenge. Our skies have not seen such a lunar
alignment since 1988 and it will not happen again until 2025. 

At Sydney Observatory see the moon make its highest passage across the
sky this year on the morning of Thursday 23 March and two weeks later,
on the evening of Tuesday 4 April, watch the moon make one of its lowest
passages in the sky for the year. 

During the high passage the moon will pass almost overhead even from
cities on the south of the continent such as Sydney, Melbourne and
Perth. Other high passages of the moon during 2006 will be on the
evenings of Saturday 2 September and Saturday 30 September.

Events at Sydney Observatory: 

High Moon viewing and breakfast 
Thursday 23 March, 5.45am - 7.15am
See the Moon at its highest in the sky for 36 years. You will have to
wait until 2025 to see it this high in the sky again. Coffee, croissants
and a great way to start the morning at Sydney Observatory. 
Cost: $25 adults, $15 children, $65 family (2 adults/2 children)
Bookings essential: (02) 9217 0485 or 9217 0470

Night of the lunar standstill 
Tuesday 4 April, 6.30pm - 8.00pm
See the first quarter Moon in its extreme lowest position in the sky as
it edges along the northern horizon. By popular demand Prof. Ray Norris
will repeat his presentation about Stonehenge and other important
astro-archaeological sites and explore the relationship indigenous
peoples have to astronomical phenomena. 
Cost: $15 adults, $10 children, $12 concession, $40 family
Bookings essential: (02) 9217 0485 or 9217 0470 

Nick Lomb
Dr Nick Lomb
Curator of Astronomy
Sydney Observatory/Powerhouse Museum
Phone: 61 (2) 9217 0480 Fax: 61 (2) 9217 0489
Email: nickl at phm.gov.au

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