Beware the tides of March!
|Alex with his pinhole camera contraption. It worked!|
Syzygy, aurora, eclipse, meteors and more!The Ides of March has a bad reputation but it passed unnoticed this year; and this month we also had a Friday the 13th, which some people are rather superstitious about. But that came and went without much ado as well. We got lucky with weather overall as St. Patrick's Day was dry and not too cold. The parades, especially in Newport, were great fun, and there were only two ankle injuries during the ritual sunrise climb of Croagh Patrick. No, I did not climb. Done it once.
The highest tides in the spring are always around St. Patrick's, Day and this year they were a couple of days later. We live by the sea so we are used to tidal variation. I suppose that's an understatement in that we live on a one lane road by the sea which is under water during the big spring tides for an hour either side of the high tide mark.
|Supertides predicted for the weekend after syzygy.|
This year, we were preparing for syzygy, where the sun and moon align to create supertides much higher than normally expected. Due to this rare alignment between the sun, Earth and moon, and the moon's close proximity to Earth, the tides on Saturday off the coast of northern France and southwestern England were the highest reported since 1997. Called a 'tide of the century', the phenomenon caused surges of up to 46 feet high and renders Mont St Michel an island for a brief interval. Despite its name, the "tide of the century" takes place every 18 years or so.
|Mont Saint Michel causeway cut off by the high water in France|
|An almost full eclipse of the sun.|
|Furlong and Inishloy, normally islands, were |
connected to the mainland at super low tide.
|Cloisins fill a bucket ready for cooking up!|
But that was not all. We not only had extraordinary tides at the spring equinox, but also a meteor crashing through our atmosphere in the dead of night, a total eclipse (well 95% here), and massive coronal mass ejections causing amazing aurora borealis displays and interfered with radio transmission.
|Foraging for cloisins and winkles along the shore.|
Unfortunately, we never did sea the aurora as far south as we are but they did catch an amazing display up in Donegal. Maybe one day we will, too.
So it was quite an eventful March for us this year. And there are more astronomical events heading our way. So hand on, we're in for an interesting ride this year!
|Meteor over the northern skies of Ireland.|
This preponderance of natural phenomena was unusual this month. Perhaps it will call attention to the world around us and cause the gaze to return to the sky rather than on the screen. (She says as she types these words onto her screen.)
Video on Youtube https://youtu.be/h2bkdM4tKck