March Moon – Through the eye of a needle in the blink of one

March almost became the first month in which no observation of the lunar alignment could be made since I started last October. Winter is dragging its heels and during the very small window of opportunity I only caught once for less then a minute a glimpse of the moon from behind layers of clouds.
Although aware of the very strict time limitations to see any manifestation of the alignment, no matter how partial, it became clear on March 8, three days after the full moon (March 5), how firm these restrictions really were.
So far I was able to observe the light entering up to two days before the full moon, at and one day after the full moon. On all instances the alignment begun approximately one hour after the moon had risen. At full moon the moon rises nearly within minutes of the sun setting, leaving just enough time for the dusk to fade into darkness and therefore making the beam of moonlight visible. On two or one days before the full moon, the beginning of the alignment remains undetectable since it is still to bright. And on the day after full moon its light travels slowly but surely through the gate before it reaches the inside of the monument. So far the journey through the gate at this point seems to consume a considerable amount of time but my perception of it could be somehow distorted, being thoroughly wind shaken while waiting for the light to enter on more then one occasion. To make matters even more unwieldy, the moon rises every day at a different time from a slightly varied location, plus a larger seasonal position swap, changing therefore the angle of the light reaching through the gate. And until March 8, I didn’t truly realise how narrow this small window of opportunity would turn out to be.

Although I never had before attempted a deviation of three days, I was still hopeful, as I left for the hill under a finally starry sky, that I would see progress in the extension of the beam towards the centre of the monument, provided it remained clear enough. The moon had risen about half a hour earlier as I arrived and was still laying literally low in the sky, not yet fully lit and as a result only reflected dim light. A short time later the beam appeared at the northern wall inside the gate and I expected it to continue further, passing through the gate and extending into the monument. But this is precisely what did not happen and I soon realised that the beam was already retreating before even leaving the tiniest arrow of light on the other side. And so the fragile enough timeline for observation became even thinner, leaving me pondering over the complexity of such a finely tuned timing in such a narrow spot, where and when a rather difficult to predict moon has to fulfil very exact specifications for an alignment to work. It has to reach a certain height above the horizon, allowing only for small variations in its changing points of rising in up to two days before and after full moon and within three hours of its rise.
There is no doubt left in my mind that such close circumstances must be the most momentous demonstration of capturing a thread being inserted through the eye of a needle in the blink of one.

The light entering the gate at 10.25 pm

The light entering the gate at 10.25 pm

10.37 pm

10.37 pm

The Seven Sister just before disappearing behind the monument at 10.53 pm.

The Seven Sisters just before disappearing behind the monument at 10.53 pm.

The beam retreating from the north/left side of the gate at 10.58 pm.

The beam retreating from the north/left side of the gate at 10.58 pm.

The star lid sky above the entrance to the northern passage at 11.09 pm.

The star lid sky above the entrance to the northern passage at 11.09 pm.

11.21 pm.

11.21 pm.

A last glimpse at 11.37 pm.

A last glimpse at 11.37 pm.

 

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