Greetings, and...Who took all the Dramamine?
Some of you may recall a few weeks back that I posted several articles in which I mentioned how, in the course of charting the stars each night, I had begun to notice a pronounced wobble evidencing itself in the unorthodox movement of Polaris, AKA the North Star. Over the course of an evening. this wobble would appear to form a small "figure eight". Following the tsunami event of Dec. 23, the manic motion of our hypothetically well-anchored mariner's friend seemed to slow down for a period of time. This was a short lived affair however. Polaris was apparently just getting a second wind, because recently it is, once again, up to it's old hijinks.
They say that what goes up, must come down, so I have long assumed that it should also be logical that what wobbles up north, most likely wobbles down south as well! Unfortunately the southern hemisphere is a bit of a hike from up here at 49 degrees North! However, thanks to a STA reader in that marvelous land down under, we now have our first report that the southern celestial pole is apparently rockin' to the beat of the "Wallaby Weave"!
The Crux, or Southern Cross Constellation sits outside of the SCP (south celestial pole) and 'twists' around in the southern skies. In an 8 hour period it should 'twist' 120 degrees; in 12 hours 180 degrees, and so on. Atmospheric conditions and height off the horizon during its nocturnal 'twist' make it appear larger or smaller.
The SCP should remain unmoved, regardless of the position of The Crux.. The SCP can be determined either by (a) aligning Centaurus Alpha and Beta with the long axis of The Crux or (b) sighting Sigma Octantis, a very feint star, naked-eye observable in exceptionally clear skies only. I am observing irregular 'movements' of the SCP: It can be higher or lower off the horizon or left or right of a land target. This, of course, is suggestive of Earth sway.
Last night, in clear skies, we again observed the Moon flaring at the tips of its crescent. The entire crescent also appeared to swell and contract. The Moon set about 20 degrees farther north from the night before. The lower tip of its crescent appeared to move from the 6 o'clock to the 5 o'clock position as it set. I observed through binoculars the lower tip of the crescent flaring, moving like a jaw opening and closing outwards from alignment with the disk of the Moon. By naked-eye observation the upper tip frequently appeared to spike outward from the disk then contract, but it wasn't so readily apparent through binoculars; I observed that action but once through binoculars.
The view from the southern hemipshere has the SCP (South Celestial Pole) altered slightly. Looking South the SCP appears to have moved 2-3 degrees to the left and 2-3 degrees closer to the horizon, thus suggesting Earth has moved to the right and ´up´.