Look above for some ex­cit­ing events

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

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.

Valen­tine’s Day

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.

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