Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Phenology: February 28, 2011

Posted by Kirk
Hard to believe we're already at the last day of February. The month seems to have flown by. We've gained a full hour of sunlight since the beginning of the month. Sunrise this morning was at 6:53 AM. My morning commute has me mostly driving East and the sun is right in my eyes now, probably about 10° high in the sky by 7:30 in the morning. Eleven hours, five minutes and forty five seconds after sunrise, at 5:58 PM, the sun will set. We're still an hour from the 12 hours of sunlight mark but we'll cross that line on March 18th.

This past week saw a little more snow as evidenced by my standing outside raking snow off my roof. We're in the top ten snowiest winters in MN history so far and there's plenty of time to make a run for the top spot (though we'd need several more feet to get there.)

As a testament to the growing power of the sun, the snow depth has already fallen four inches from the high spot of 15 inch snow pack last week.

I was thinking I should have seen Horned Larks by now and then this morning on the way to work I spotted a few on the side of the road. I just got a report yesterday of Red-winged Blackbirds in Michigan so we'll have to keep our eyes open here in Minnesota soon for this sometimes over eager species.

If you're up for a little daylight astronomy watch for the planet Venus near the moon in the morning sky on Tuesday. If you can brave the cold, there's a new moon on the 4th which means if the sky is clear it should be a nice dark night for astronomy. If you're up for a real challenge, Mercury is visible this coming weekend. Look just to the left of the crescent moon about 20 minutes after sunset. It will have to be very clear out and you'll need a clean view of the horizon as well as a good pair of binoculars.