Monday, February 2, 2009
Punxsutawney Phil...the astronomer
Well, it happened today...Punxsutawney [in Pennsylvania] was host to an annual event...a questionable attempt to disturb a furry bucktoothed rodent and have him become a participant in predicting whether there will be six more weeks of winter. Why not, the highly paid and well-equipped metrologists need all the help they can get and Punxsutawney Phil is just the low tech device they need. Incidentally, ole Phil is correct about 1/3 of the time. A better track record that many metrologists? One wonders how far reaching Phil's highly localized predictions are extrapolated for an entire continent. February 2nd is a "cross quarter" date, like May Day [May 1st] and Halloween [October 31st] roughly between a solstice and an equinox.
In my community we didn't have an available ground hog [though there are many in the rural areas] so we had to settle for a hedgehog from the local zoo and pretended. He too saw his shadow.