I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space… –Lord Byron, Darkness
Or, in other words, boo!
Halloween, believe it or not, is an astronomical holiday! The two solstices and two equinoxes are obvious astronomical holidays, since they correspond to the days of greatest, least, and equal daylight/night everywhere in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
But halfway in-between each solstice and equinox lie the cross-quarter days. Just as we still mark the winter solstice (almost) with Christmas and the vernal equinox (almost) with Easter, we mark the cross-quarter days (almost) with minor holidays, including Groundhog Day, May Day, and Halloween, which comes from the old Celtic Samhain.
So happy Halloween from me, the Universe, and Bok globule Sh 2-136. I’ve got my costume all picked out, but no pictures until the weekend! Any guesses?