Spring equinox to take place at Pen Henge

This year spring will officially get underway with the arrival of the spring equinox on Friday, March 20.

This year spring will officially get underway with the arrival of the spring equinox on Friday, March 20.

To mark the event there will be a public pilgrimage to the Pen Henge standing stone array at the top of Munson Mountain around 6 p.m. on Friday in anticipation of sunset at 6.35 p.m.

The actual moment of equinox will be earlier at 3.45pm.

The gathering will observe the setting sun’s lengthening shadow extending from the equinox stone to the heel stone.

The Pen Henge stones delineate the sunset points on the four cardinal dates of the year.

Anchored by the Heel Stone, the equinox stone points to the sun’s sunset point at both the spring and fall equinoxes, while the other two stones mark the winter and summer solstice setting points respectively.

As with previous events, members of the Okanagan Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada welcome members of the public to join them for the observance which will mark the halfway point of the sun’s annual migration.

The main attraction is watching the shadow of the equinox stone slowly swing around toward the heel stone and lengthen as the Sun glides toward the horizon.

While the observance will go ahead regardless of the weather, clear skies would enable the tableau to be fully enjoyed.

Astronomical society members will be on hand with telescopes equipped with proper filters to allow views of the setting sun, as well as individual solar filters for a safe solar observing.

The public is reminded that it is unsafe to view the sun directly without proper eye protection.

A brass plaque with a brief explanation of the array which was conceived in 2009 is permanently attached to the top of the heel stone.

Photos of the array and earlier observances can be viewed on the OC RASC website at www ocrasc ca through the Image Gallery link and the Pen Henge folder.