It is the equinox today.  It is the day when the hours of day match the hours of night and the day when the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. It is only one of two days in the year that behave this way.  I have not been out enough to see it much today, instead I have been indoors making things.

We have been making tarts and cheesecakes, we have been tidying and cooking and tidying.  After my prize blueberry cheesecake was safely shelved in the fridge I ventured into the garden but too late for the sun.  Instead I saw the crescent of the moon.  It was hung in a clear sky and tempted me to be geeky.  And so, I was.  I tested something that I had only recently discovered in the natural navigator.  I drew a line in my mind’s eye.  This line went from point to point of the crescent moon and then followed down and across the sky to the horizon; and there was south.

image from stellarium used to represent concept in  the natural navigator

I already know where south is roughly, but this moon compass needed to be accurately tested.  Did I run and get my compass?  No, I was even more geeky than that.  I merely glanced at my greenhouse and its little solar panel that drives the heat sink.  It has always been aligned precisely south to soak up as much sun as it can manage.  It all lined up perfectly.

EDIT – I played about with stellarium (amazing software) and I can’t quite get it to replicate what I saw.  For a couple of nights now I have tried this trick and it seemed to be pretty close to south.  But when I use stellarium it seems to bee more off than I observe.  Stellarium points more SSW than South.  Strange.

EDIT 2 – Actually now that I think about… When I look at the Stellarium software I am looking at a 2d projection of a sphere, that might make a difference! ?