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22:00 Thurs 22 Sept

Police have tonight issued a warning of dire consequences for any gullible skywatcher responding to an invitation posted on social media to a star party on the verge of the McGregor Rd off-ramp of the M1 at midnight. It is a hoax: people are warned that heavy fines will be incurred for obstructions to traffic, and that no geocache or Pokémon exists or should be sought in the area.

The following images were posted on the offending social media page.

The precise geographical longitude of the transit of the Southern Autumn Equinox point (opposite to Sun position) at the moment the Sun crosses the Equator:equinox-pakenham-2016

A representation of the promised sky view:equinox-zodiac-packenham-2016

And an astrological chart for the time and place:equinox-pakenham-ra-2016

Editor’s Astrographic Note:

Authorititave sources give the precise time of the equinox as 14:21:59 TDB, with the usual disclaimer about the impossibility of precise accuracy. When ∆T is added, our rudimentary software gives a local time which closely agrees with In-The-Sky.org and Stellarium (which admittedly deals in topocentric coordinates, not geocentric as in the official standard).

The following Stellarium-sourced slideshow demonstrates the effect of general precession on the geographical location of the Sun at Southern Spring Equinox over eight years (three leap-years).

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