Look above for some exciting events
Valentine’s Day isn’t until next week, but if you’ve got someone special in your life, I have a suggestion for something to do together tonight, and it won’t cost you a penny.
You see, Feb. 10 is the perfect time to do some night sky-gazing because three celestial events are all coinciding on this one night. Contemplating time and space together sounds pretty romantic to me, plus you’ll have a great excuse to cuddle up since the cooler temperatures are back.
First, the moon will be flirting with the earth’s shadow in an event known as a penumbral lunar eclipse. No actual part of the moon will go dark, but the earth’s shadow will noticeably shade the moon for a few hours tonight. For observers in Maryland, the deepest part of the eclipse will happen at 7:44 p.m.
It just so happens that Feb. 10 is also the full moon, this one known as the snow moon since February is traditionally the snowiest month. Native Americans had another name for this moon — the hunger moon — because there just wasn’t a lot to eat in February. The Cherokee had their own unique name for it, too. They called it the bone moon because food was so scarce they gnawed on bones for sustenance.
To the untrained eye, catching a glimpse of the last celestial event might prove a little difficult. Comet 45p will be making a close pass to Earth in the pre-dawn hours on Feb. 11. Just how close? Only 30 times farther than the distance from the earth to the moon. The next visible approach will happen in 2022.
Now I did say this date wouldn’t cost you a penny, but you’re going to need a telescope (or a friend with a telescope) or a really good pair of binoculars to enjoy the eclipse and comet properly. And a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts beforehand for a hot beverage wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
New otter at CMM
On Feb. 14, a new furry face will be joining the bevy of otters at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons and the museum is holding a contest
Louisiana. He’s being acclimated slowly in the newly renovated holding area and is sure to be wel- comed by his new pals.
Contest participants can enter as many times as they like, but only one name per entry. The first person to correctly guess the name will be the winner.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, it might be tempting to look to the animal kingdom for courtship inspiration. Although, I don’t think I would try to draw many dating or marriage lessons from the river otter.
Adults usually live solitary lives unless it’s breeding season and males often mate with more than one female. Not exactly what most humans are looking for in a relationship. But now that I think about it, that does sounds a lot like a guy my sister used to date…
One surprising couple that earns high marks for fidelity can be found in Southern Maryland, roosting up in trees or scouring the streets for a meal. Black vultures, while not found in quite as vast a geographic range as turkey vultures, are not unusual in our region.