Archive for February 13, 2023

02/13/2023 – Ephemeris – Follow the Drinking Gourd

February 13, 2023 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, February 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 6:08, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:44. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 2:51 tomorrow morning.

In the decades before the Civil War, runaway slaves would travel, often at night, northward from the slave states in the south to the northern free states and Canada over the metaphorical Underground Railroad following the Drinking Gourd, the Big Dipper as their compass. For millennia, the North Pole of the sky had been passing near the handle of the Big Dipper or bear’s tail. As an amateur astronomer, who loves the dark, starlit skies, I’ve noticed that everyone is the same color in the dark! This year the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will, once again, team with the Sleeping Bear Dunes for more Sun and star parties.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT –5 hours). They may be different for your location.


Runaway slaves following the Drinking Gourd

“Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a show at the Virginia Living Museum’s Abbit Planetarium based on Jeanette Winter’s children’s book of the same name, tells the story of a slave family who used the stars to make their way north. Visitors can watch the free show Saturdays in February. (Courtesy of Virginia Living Museum) Via Daily Press, Newport News, VA.