Daylight Savings Time for 2013 is about to be a thing of the past as it is time to fall back as Standard Time, which officially begins at 2am local time for people all across the nation, will make its annual fall return tonight. While most people are indifferent to the time change, for astronomers, though, this moving back to Standard Time (never mind that 'standard' is now only about 4 months of the year!) makes for a happy time. So why, you may ask.
First, losing an hour of light off the tail end of the day offers one last, albeit brief, window during which one can observe the summer constellations under dark skies. Every night, any given star will rise (and set) four minutes earlier than the last. With the rapidly shortening days, the early rise/set times have been somewhat offset by the shortening days. However, not even this can help turn back the sky the way a sudden hour-long time shift can.
Second, with the clocks being set back an hour, the stars will essentially rise an hour earlier, too. Yes, while night is not coming that late anymore, for anyone wanting to get a look at the winter sky before the Cleveland area, lake effect clouds blot out the stars, falling back can make for an earlier bedtime as most astronomers have day jobs, too.
See also: Time Change Trivia
So, with sunset coming a lot earlier, it will now be possible to do both some stargazing and get enough sleep, too. Just don't forget to fall back tonight!
Want to do some sky watching in the Cleveland area? As the last part of the puzzle, be sure to keep an eye on the Cleveland weather forecast and, for hour-by-hour cloud predictions, the Cleveland Clear Sky Clock. Live somewhere else? Find a clock and see if it will be clear near you. Oh, yes, good luck with your asteroid hunting!
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Bodzash Photography & Astronomy