March Astronomical and Weather Trivia

Here’s a cool little coincidence: on this 3rd of March, the month named for the god Mars, the planet named after the same deity is in opposition to earth. That is to say, the planet Mars is as close to Earth as it can get in its orbit.

The night of February 29th was beautifully clear. Admiring the quarter moon and the brighter stars and planets from the edge of our homestead, I noticed that Mars seemed a bit brighter than normal. It turns out that it is brighter, because it’s coming closer.

Right here is where I’d love to insert a photo of that view, but as I’ve complained before, I have neither the talent or the equipment to take good photos of the night sky, so I’ll have to leave it to your imagination, or, if tonight is clear, your own observation.

Today is also Saint Winnal’s Day, the day from which we get the March coming in as a lion or lamb tradition. St. Winnal is apparently associated with storms. Some say he’s one of those pagan gods thinly dressed up as a Christian saint (like my all time favorite, Saint Dionysus. I mean, come on!). He may possibly be a Christianized Aegir, the Teutonic god of the sea, in charge of tides and weather. That would make a certain amount of sense.

March 1st is Saint David’s Day, March 2nd is Saint Chad’s. That, and the information above account for this funny little traditional weather rhyme:

“First comes David, next comes Chad, then comes Winnal, roaring mad!”

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