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Lunar alignment events at the Newark Octagon

| November 24, 2015

NEWARK – The public is invited to view the moon rise in alignment with the Octagon Earthworks on Friday, Nov. 27 or Saturday, Nov. 28. The event is being hosted by The Ohio State University’s Newark Earthworks Center and the Ohio History Connection.

The Octagon Earthworks were built by ancestors of today’s American Indians approximately 2,000 years ago. These ancient architects built the Octagon to align with all of the important points in the lunar cycle.

The moonrise this week is called a northern minimum moonrise. The moon follows an 18.6 year cycle and includes eight “standstill points,” four moonrises and four moonsets. The place on the horizon where the moon first rises moves from north to south and back again every 28 days, and the distance between where it rises on the first day and the fourteenth day expands for 9.3 years and then returns over 9.3 years. The moonrise this week is called a northern minimum because it is the least northern moonrise in the entire cycle.

“Clearly, the creators of the Newark Earthworks understood the lunar cycle, says Emeritus Director at the Newark Earthworks Center Dr. Richard Shields. “It must have been important to be there when the moon was in just the right place. Archaeologists believe that it is likely that people came from great distances for those occasions. We can imagine important events: ceremonies, games, reunions, celebrations of life and death, family and community.”

Nov. 27 and 28 are the last dates on which we are likely to see the northern minimum moonrise for the next 18.6 years. On Friday, plan to arrive at the Octagon at 6:15 p.m. and to leave by 7:45 p.m. On Saturday, arrive at 7:15 p.m. and leave by 8:45 p.m.

The Ohio State University at Newark offers the best of the Big Ten educational experience, access to Ohio State’s more than 200 major programs, a rich research heritage and academic excellence.

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