March 2019 Sky-Watch

Spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20th at 5:58 pm EDT, as we will have shifted to Daylight Savings Time on March 10th, at 2:00 am. Astronomically, spring arrives with the Vernal (Spring) Equinox. This is when the Sun moving along it’s “apparent” path in the sky, known as the Ecliptic, crosses the Celestial Equator. Of course, this perceived motion of the Sun is really caused by the Earth orbiting the Sun. We cannot “feel” this motion, but we can see the result of it by watching the Sun appear to move annually.

The Ecliptic gets its name because only when the Moon, orbiting Earth, lines up right on the orbital plane of the Earth and Sun, can eclipses occur. We can track the path of the Ecliptic in the sky because it is marked by the 12 Zodiac constellations.

From now until June 21st the Sun will appear to be higher in the sky each day at noon and the weather in the northern hemisphere will warm gradually. Summer arrives in June with the Sun at its highest point in the southern sky for the year. So we can start looking forward to warm weather.

Meanwhile, the spring equinox is ushered in with a Full Moon occurring just 4 hours (9:43 pm) on March 20th EDT.

March continues the early morning planet show that start to impress us in February. Looking southeast, Jupiter rises by 2:30 am on March 1st and by 1:30 pm on the 31st. The waning gibbous Moon will appear just a few degrees away from Jupiter on the morning of March 27th, and will be Jupiter’s only real competition for brightness, as the giant planet brightens from –2.0 to –2.2 during the month. When twilight begins to show in the eastern sky, Jupiter will be 25 degrees above the horizon and will give telescope viewers a clear shot.

Saturn rises around 5:30 am EDT among the stars of Sagittarius and is brighter than all of its stars. On March 29th the waning crescent Moon will be seen just to the lower left of the ringed planet. Venus rises right around the same time as Saturn but easily outshines it and Jupiter. At magnitude –4.1, Venus will fade only to –3.9 by the end of the month. On the morning of March 13th look for all three planets in the southeastern sky, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus about evenly spaced between themselves, about 45 minutes before sunrise. (Venus lowest and brightest; Saturn above and right; and Jupiter above and right of Saturn.

We can still catch a glimpse of Mercury in the first week of March (March 1 to 6) looking to the western horizon some 8 degrees up and 45 minutes after sunset. Binoculars will help pick it out in the twilight. Mars orbital motion now, relative to ours, keeps it moving eastward against the starry background, but from our vantage point on Earth, it will remain mostly as a fixed sight in our evening skies (in the southwest), not setting until around 11:30. Bright enough to be easily seen with the unaided eye, and even better in binoculars, Mars does not reveal surface details even through telescopes now. It is just too far away.

However, on the night of March 23rd a binocular view of Mars will show it in the same field of view with the Pleiades star cluster (M 45). Mars will remain in that vicinity of the sky until about April 4th. It is worth taking a look!

The Talbot Historical Society Project Rewind: When Lions Gather

The Talbot Historical Society PastPerfect database information states this is the Lions Club in Trappe, Maryland Dec. 6,1946! Is it possible the Trappe Lions Club had that many numbers?! Can you identify this building and any of the event attendees? Photo from the Talbot Historical Society’s Laird Wise Collection. Contact: Cathy Hill to share your old photos. Comment, Like our page and join THS!

Sad Farewell by Howard Freedlander

A common theme underscored a friend’s funeral service this Saturday. Adjectives such as intelligent, enthusiastic, exuberant, optimistic, joyful, playful, curious, friendly and religious filled The Church of the Holy Trinity, an Episcopal house of worship in Oxford.

Marshall E. Blume, who died suddenly on Jan. 27, 2019 at the age of 77, would have loved hearing family members, a friend and former associate and clergy persons pay tribute to him and his humanity. That he was an academic star for more than four decades as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance, founder of an investment advising firm in Philadelphia and a corporate board member seemed to play second fiddle to descriptions of his zest for life and love of family.

A grandson said that Blume’s grandfather name was “Grand Marshall.” He led the family in activities catering to children and his childlike exuberance.

His son said his father was perpetually curious and constantly enthusiastic. He developed an interest in dogs. But he also could be judgmental. He thought that Golden Retrievers were lovable, but not as intelligent as poodles.

Both The Right Rev. Santosh Marray, bishop of the Diocese of Easton and The Rev. Kevin Cross, rector of Holy Trinity, talked about attending meetings where Blume discussed parish and diocesan finances; they conceded they didn’t always understand what the longtime economist said, but trusted his knowledge. They also both said he was typically optimistic.

One other matter concerned Marshall Blume at meetings: an ample supply of animal crackers—another example of his childlike interests.

Blume and I had something in common. He spent his career at my alma mater. He quickly learned about my love for Penn and periodic visits. He always queried me about Penn whenever our paths crossed in Easton.

When he entered a room, he had an immediate presence. He loved to laugh and engage people in conversation.

As Father Kevin Cross said, Marshall Blume died too young. His family and friends had no preparation. A sense of vibrancy and joy vanished.

This brilliant and gregarious man touched many lives. His loss leaves a void.

Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland.  Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He  also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer.  In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.

Talbot Historical Society Project Rewind: Going for a Tune-up

Maybe our automobile and truck experts followers can help date this photo of the Noble Motor Company garage? In 1920 John W. Noble , at 23, started the Preston Motor Company which he sold in 1929. At that time Mr. Noble purchased the old Eastern Shore Auto Company in Easton and renamed it the Noble Motor Company. Facts, the “Star Democrat” article “ “Easton’s Progressive Firm Noble Motor Company,” June 8,1945. Photo from the Talbot Historical Society’s Laird Wise Collection.

Contact: Cathy Hill to share your old photos. Comment, Like our page and join THS!

Talbot County Unboxed: Londonderryopoly

The hot game in Easton everyone is talking about might not be Pickleball anymore. It’s a variation of a board game that almost everyone is familiar with, and it’s called Londonderryopoly.

Londonderryopoly, modeled after the classic Monopoly board game, was created by the Londonderry team as its 2018 holiday gift. The game board features images of Londonderry and the amenities. The property squares are named after the cottages and apartment floor plans located in Londonderry, names such as Waverly, Neavitt and Tred Avon.

The game pieces feature symbols of the Eastern Shore like a duck and sailboat. The entire game experience is uniquely “Londonderry” and has received rave reviews from residents, community and business partners.

The Spy received its own copy and decided to unbox it as a community service.

This video is approximately one minute  in length. For more information about Londonderry, please go here.

Talbot Historical Society Project Rewind: Singers Need Names

Can you help the Talbot Historical Society identify these young men who appear to be members of a singing group? Perhaps the group had a performing name? Photo from the Talbot Historical Society’s H. Robins Hollyday Collection.

Contact: Cathy Hill to share your old photos. Comment, Like our page and join THS!

Navy League Proudly Supports Coast Guard Station Oxford

The Navy League Eastern Shore Council (NL ESC) proudly supports U.S. Coast Guard Station Oxford, commanded by BMC Thomas A. Pease OIC (Officer in Charge).  The Navy League recently presented an Honor Check ($1500) to the Guard on January 23rd, 2019. The on-going fundraiser is expected to yield more honor checks to the Station.

USCG Station Oxford group with Chief Thomas A. Pease OIC on the right.

The entire Coast Guard is working without pay during the government shutdown. The shutdown is now in the second month. The Navy League is a registered 501(c)(3) charity created 120 years ago to sponsor and advocate U.S. sea services. This current fund raiser is one way for us to show our respect and admiration for local USCG Station Oxford.

Donations may be sent to: Navy League ESC, 205 Governors Way North, Queenstown, Maryland 21658-1619. Telephone: 410-827-6350. Make checks payable to ‘Navy League ESC’, showing ‘Coast Guard’ on the memo line. A donors list is being prepared for future use, unless you state to us that you prefer to remain Anonymous. The funds will be immediately grouped and properly presented to the Guard Station. The station may not be able to accept personal checks, hence the role for the Navy League.

The Navy League has a well-deserved reputation as a sea services advocate for our sea-going uniformed services. The current government shutdown has unfairly stressed these patriots. The men and women at the Oxford Station are not receiving their paychecks for day-to-day living expenses. Yet they remain on duty, prepared 24/7 to go out on the frigid bay waters, whatever the weather. The Guard has no boundaries.

The Eastern Shore Navy League Council proudly sponsors the U.S. Navy Wallops Island Surface Combat Systems Center, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Station Oxford. We host members of those stations,and present ‘Enlisted Person of the Quarter’ awards at our dinner meetings. Council donations are made to active Fleet Recreation and Morale Funds.

The Navy League Eastern Shore Council (NL ESC) supports three high school JROTC units. These are Easton High School Navy NJROTC, Woodbridge HS (DE) Marine Corps JROTC, and Pocomoke High School MCJROTC. The NL ESC council provides awards, scholarships, and financial gifts. Our members attend JROTC events, Veterans Day ceremonies, and active sea service fleet activities. This past year we supported the Vietnam Moving Wall, and attended the U.S. Navy Birthday Ball at Wallops Island, Virginia.Last week we went over to Dover Delaware for a briefing by ’Friends of the Fallen’, speaking of Dover AFB Dignified Transfer arrivals.

We encourage readers to join the NLUS to support the local council and receive Sea Power magazine.  Applications for NLUS membership are available on-line at . You will automatically become a member of our local Eastern Shore Council. Feel free to call 410-827-6350 for further information.

Talbot Historical Society: Skating at Navy Point

Enjoy this Talbot Historical Society H. Robins Hollyday Collection 1907 photo of ice skaters near the Packing house at Navy Point in St. Michaels, Maryland! Looks like fun!!

Contact: Cathy Hill to share your old photos. Comment,Like our page and join THS!

Talbot Historical Society Project Rewind: Calling Room Service at the Hotel Avon


Maryland’s Hotel Avon on the corner of Dover and Harrison Streets was completed in 1891 and had steam heat and hot and cold, running water in the more expensive rooms! This impressive building was so badly damaged in a January 10,1944 fire that it had to be torn down. A. Johnson Grimes built the present Tidewater Inn on this site starting on January 27,1947! The grand opening was September 2nd, 1949 and it is still a centerpiece of Easton! Facts: “Easton Album” by Norman Harrington 1985. Photo from the Talbot Historical Society’s H. Robins Hollyday Collection. Contact: Cathy Hill to share your old photos. Comment, Like our page and join THS!

February 2019 Sky-Watch

Looking due south on clear winter nights in February, sky-watchers can find 6 bright constellations and see 8 of the top 20 brightest stars, as seen from Earth. These include the brightest of all, SIRIUS, the “dog” star, in the constellation Canis Major. Also by 9:00 pm local time in mid-February, the first sign of approaching spring is heralded by the appearance of Leo the lion, rising above the eastern horizon.

Start half-way up to the zenith (top of the sky), looking south for the “hour glass” shape of Orion the hunter. Three equally bright stars in a neat line in the center of Orion mark the “belt” around the waist of this mighty hunter. Red giant star BETELGEUSE (upper left corner), and the blue giant star RIGEL (lower right corner), are two of the eight 1st magnitude stars of winter. Orion also boasts 5 bright 2nd magnitude stars, which include the three belt stars.

Moving one’s eyes through the belt stars, down and left, points us to SIRIUS, twinkling near the southern horizon. Using the belt stars of Orion again to point up and to the right brings us to red-orange ALDEBARAN, brightest star in Taurus the bull. The bull’s head is made of stars forming a distinct V-shape in this Zodiac constellation.

Above Sirius, and slightly to its left is Canis Minor, a constellation of only 3 stars, that represents the smaller or Orion’s two hunting dogs. Brightest of the 3 stars is PROCYON. Just above this is the Zodiac constellation GEMINI, the twins. The two stick men formed by Gemini’s stars are headed by two more of winter’s brightest stars, POLLUX and CASTOR.

Above Gemini and nearly at the zenith is Auriga, the goat herder constellation, which has a pentagon shape. The brightest star in Auriga is CAPELLA, a yellow star like our Sun, but much larger.

Leo the lion is also a part of the Zodiac and one of the brightest of the spring constellations, but in February Leo introduces itself as a sure sign that spring is coming by rising above the eastern horizon then. Leo reaches its peak in April and May. The bottom star at the front of Leo is yet another 1st magnitude star to be seen in February it is called REGULUS.

Mars, among the planets, remains easy to see in the evening southern sky, but it fades in magnitude from +0.9 to +1.2 through February. Is continues to move further away from us in its orbit. even telescopes will not bring in much surface detail now because of this distance.

Mercury will give us its best views of 2019 from February 15th to February 26th. On the 15th Mercury, at magnitude –1.1, may be seen left of where the Sun set 30 minutes afterwards. But it will only be 5 degrees above the western horizon then. However, Mercury rises higher each day until by the 26th it will be 18 degrees left of the Sun, which will translate to 11 degrees of altitude, 30 to 45 minutes after sunset.

The pre-dawn eastern sky features 3 planets this month. The first up (around 4:00 am) will be Jupiter (-2.0 magnitude). On the morning of the 27th, the waning crescent Moon will be just 2 degrees above Jupiter. Venus comes up some 30 minutes after Jupiter in the East, and be even brighter at –4.2. Venus will appear in almost the same spot in the sky as Saturn on the morning of the 18th. Venus then will be only one degree above the ringed planet Saturn, which will be at magnitude +0.6. Find a good clear view to the eastern pre-dawn horizon all month to watch all 3 of these planets in the one to two hours before sunup.

Full Moon for February is on February 19th.

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