By Santiago Casal, founder and Curator of the Chavez/Huerta Solar Calendar
Due to the elevated warnings, we are canceling the Winter Solstice Gathering this year . Wow, a whole year without seasonal gatherings. But as you can see by this Berkeleyside article: “Social bubbles are now popped. Bay Area closes outdoor dining, sets strict rules amid COVID-19 surge.”
The new guidelines prohibit gatherings with people outside of your household through Jan 4. We are urging people to not have informal gatherings at the site. Inevitably a handful of folks may show up at the Solar Calendar/Homage site. We discourage that, but if you do go there, please wear a mask and stand more than 6 feet apart. We look forward to the time when all this has passed.
NOTE: In lieu of an in-person gathering, Alan Gould, our Lawrence Hall of Science leader of Winter Solstice Gatherings, will open a zoom gathering from 4pm until sunset (or so). There will be demonstrations of a couple of hands-on projects relating to the astronomy of seasons and then an exploration of solstice celebrations around the world. To join in, follow this link.
P.S. from Alan Gould: Wherever you are that evening, if you have a clear sky, you may want to take advantage of an extraordinary astronomical event.
After sunset starting about 2 hands widths (at arm’s length) above the southwestern horizon and lasting for a couple of hours before they set, Jupiter and Saturn will be in conjunction, only 0.1° apart, practically on top of each other. This is the closest conjunction of these two planets since the year 1623, when Galileo was alive. It won’t happen again until 2080. Bring binoculars (the best you have)!