Saturday, January 2, 2016

Still Life With Robin: A Look Ahead

Transit of Mercury across the Sun
Photo by edhiker via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

It’s twenty-sixteen (and yes, we should all be saying it that way, and abandon the unwieldy “two thousand and sixteen” formulation that should have ended with the single digit years the last being “two thousand and nine”) – so it’s a good time to glance ahead to see what the calendar has in store for us. Besides the presidential election and leap year (you already know about those two) there are a few noteworthy events and commemorations.

There’s just one Friday the 13th, which comes in May.

There’s a palindrome date (it reads the same backwards as forwards) on June 10, 2016:  
6 10 2016

The notable solar events are:

* March 9 – Total Eclipse of the Sun. Buy your tickets now for travel to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Northern Australia or Hawaii – the best places to view the eclipse (

* May 9 – A Rare Transit of Mercury Across the Sun - You can stay in North America for this one, but take care to protect your vision when viewing the tiny black dot of Mercury crossing the sun. Safe methods are described here:

The notable lunar events are:

* March 23 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – defined here: and more information about the March 23 event here:

* May 21 Blue Moon  the third full moon in a season with four full moons. More info at:

* October 16, November 14, and December 14 – Three Full Moon/Supermoons. More info here:

When it comes to historical commemorations, 2016 is not such a big year. It will mark the 75th  anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is the 1000th anniversary of the crowning of King Canute, the first Danish king to be proclaimed ruler of all of England. For other events, take a look at and see if you agree: there’s not a whole lot there. Dolly the Sheep was cloned 20 years ago this March. One hundred years ago, on September 6, 1916, the first true supermarket was opened – it was a Piggly-Wiggly in Memphis, Tennessee ( Oh, and let’s not forget to celebrate the 300th birthday of Capability Brown, British landscape architect, born on September 2, 1716. (By the way, that’s a fabulous baby name. Hope it makes a comeback in 2016. You could call the baby Cape for short. If this turns out to be a Thing in 2016, please note that you heard it here first!)

If you celebrate Hanukkah, you will be doing your first candle-lighting late in the month, starting on December 24 (Christmas Eve, if you're part of a multi-culti family) and going through to the lighting of all eight candles on New Year’s Eve, December 31 until the holiday comes to an end at sundown on January 1, 2017. If you think back to 2013 – the memorable “Thanksgivukkah” when Hanukkah started on November 27, the evening before Thanksgiving, you realize it will be a challenge to come up with a similar mash-up moniker for the overlapping of Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year’s Eve….but you have 355 days to come up with something. Now if you’re thinking of recording a mash-up song for the holiday to post on Youtube, in the style of the best Thanksgivvukkah songs see  you might want to get cracking! 


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. 

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