By Neel Roberts
What is the witching hour? Traditionally it’s between 3:00 A.M. to 4:00 A.M. Sometimes referred to as the “Devil’s hour” due to it being the time of night that is associated with supernatural events, whereby witches, demons and ghosts are thought to appear and be at their most powerful. The phrase is believed to have origins around 1775 in the poem “Night, an Ode.” by Rev. Matthew West, though it may may go further back to 1535 when the Catholic Church prohibited activities during the 3–4 am timeframe due to emerging fears about witchcraft in Europe. Back here in Canada, Halloween’s officially passed but in Alberta we’ll have a “spooktacular” view of a “blood red” total lunar eclipse https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2022-november-8 during the witching hour.
Coined as the “Beaver Moon” (sounds Canadian, eh?) it named for two main reasons. It’s the time of year where beavers started to hibernate and have their stock of food ready for the winter, so they begin to take shelter. The other reason is for their fur. Hunters would lay traps to catch the beavers at this time of year as they are fully grown. This meant that more fur could be taken from the beavers if caught compared to any other time of the year. If you want to catch the eclipse with other likeminded stargazers (or beaver hunters!) the RASC Calgary is hosting a special overnight event https://www.meetup.com/the-calgary-astronomy-meetup-group/events/289102801/ at the Weaselhead and North Glenmore Park Tuesday, November 08th, 2022 starting at 1:00 AM to 6:00 AM at the Weaselhead parking lot 6615 37 Street SW, Calgary, AB.
There is no charge and the public’s welcome. Penumbral begins Nov 8 at 1:02:15 am, partial eclipse begins 2:09:12 am, full eclipse begins 3:16:39 am, maximum eclipse 3:59:11 am, full eclipse ends 4:41:36 am with totality lasting 84 minutes, partial eclipse ends 5:49:03 am and penumbral ends 6:56:09 am. While no spooks, ghouls and apparitions are expected to show up during the witching hour blood red moon, there’s lots of Beavers if you’re a trapper. Telescopes will be set up and will be watching the moon as it passes through the earth’s shadow, momentarily disappearing completely. Dress warmly including boots, hats and gloves. The Best is Yet to Come!
Sky watch for the next month: Download this month’s sky free charts athttp://whatsouttonight.com/Resources/2022NovWOTSkyChart.pdf, https://in-the-sky.org/newscal.php?month=9&year=2022&maxdiff=7#datesel, https://in-the-sky.org/skymap2.php, https://www.heavens-above.com/SkyChart.aspx.
Happy Cooler days and Meteor Watching!
Neel Roberts is a local astronomer in Southern Alberta and welcomes your comment atNeel_Roberts@ptccanada.com, Tel: (403) 560-6574. Check out his work at http://www.ptccanada.com.
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