Sirius in October

October 16, 2018 | Kansas City

The constellation Orion appeared due south at about 5:30 AM DST. This was about two hours before sunrise.

The star Sirius shown brightly in its expected place in the sky.

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Sirius on the TV screen

The star Sirius appears over the London skyline as the camera pans upward. The constellation Orion appears, and it becomes clear that the bright star is Sirius – pointed to by Orion’s belt.

Miss Marple, by Agatha Christie

At Bertram’s Hotel,” Episode 3.1

first aired September 23, 2007 (begins at about minute 43:14)

Streaming from hulu.com

P.S.: The cinematography is above average, especially for a television show.

Daylight Savings Time and the Oil Embargo of 1974

In about 1974, the U.S. Congress mandated that the entire country remain on a daylight savings clock all year long. The oil producing countries (OPEC) were holding back petroleum exports to the U.S. By retaining daylight savings time in the winter, our basic work and school days occurred during daylight hours. Offices didn’t need to turn on lights during the last hour or so of the 9-5 workday. Presumably, using less electricity during daylight savings time would reduce usage of petroleum.

K-12 schools were in session during daylight hours. However, people discovered that children were heading off to school while it was still dark. Young people who had after-school activities were also coming home in the dark. As a safety matter, parents didn’t like the idea that their children were between home and school in the dark. Parents who would not let their children ride bicycles at night found that they were in a position to decide whether the youngsters would take bicycles to and from school.

After one winter, Congress resumed the previous winter clock of standard time. Youngsters, for the most part, were again outside during daylight hours.

To cite examples for the northern tier of states, the sun rises in December, January, and February at about 7 – 7:15 AM. In terms of daylight savings time, the sun rises between 8 and 8:15 AM.

At the same time, in most of the southernmost states, the sun rises in December, January, and February at about 7 AM. In terms of daylight savings time, the sun rises a little before 8 AM except in January when the average is about 8:15 AM.

However, on Florida’s panhandle (in the eastern time zone) the winter sunrise is around 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM daylight time. A legislative discussion in Florida has been to enact daylight savings time all year long. As such, youngsters in Tallahassee, the state capital, would be heading to school in the dark during the winter.

It seems that legislators in Florida do not have the experience of winter 1974 at their fingertips. Some hadn’t yet been born; others wouldn’t remember, of course.

Only Southern California seems to have an advantage over most other populous regions of the country by about fifteen minutes, though.

Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

An Elm Tree in Willcox, AZ

Willcox Elm Tree

This Dutch elm tree is reported to be the largest of its kind in Arizona (according to Willcox city manager “Ted” Soltis).

If it’s not the largest, it looks like it would be. It looks like it could be among the oldest. The city of Willcox, a stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad, was founded around 1880. The railway today – now called the Union Pacific – passes through Willcox but does not stop.

The original train depot, from 1881, is now a museum and the City Hall.

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Photo by Nesanel Segal, 2018

A Mesquite Orchard

Have you ever seen an orchard of mesquite trees?

This scene was photographed at the Amerind Museum, Dragoon, Arizona, in February, during the winter. *

This scene was taken in February, during Arizona’s winter. *

You actually never saw such an orchard of mesquite tree. Instead, mesquite trees on their own create an order that looks like an orchard. Each tree secretes a substance that is poisonous to its own seeds. Seeds that land under or around the tree are poisoned and do not germinate. This condition is called alleleopathy.

In addition, each tree spreads roots out under the entire canopy, and these roots suck up the water in the soil. An adjacent tree, needing its own supply of water, grows at a distance from all other trees. As a result, the layout of the trees looks like it was planted in rows by human hands.

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* Photos by Nesanel Segal, 2018

Watching the star Sirius in early January

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 – Kansas City, USA

I saw the constellation Orion in the southeastern sky, just above the tree line, at 6:30 PM Central Standard Time. This was about one hour and twenty minutes after local sunset.

Sirius would correspondingly have been in the east-northeast, still below the horizon.

The sky here was too cloudy tonight to see much other than the brightest stars.