Welcoming the Equinox and looking to the stars at Métis Crossing

March 19-20th, 2024 marks the March Equinox. Also known as the Spring or Vernal Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere, the event is defined as one of two times a year during the earth’s rotation when the length of night and day are equivalent (the word Equinox coming from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night)). 

Notably, an Equinox is the only time of year when the sun rises due east and sets due west, and the event has been observed and celebrated in countless ways around the world since time immemorial. Famous sites connected to the equinox include the Intihuatana, a stone located at the Incan site of Macchu Picchu, aligned in such a way that during an Equinox it does not cast a shadow; El Castillo (also known as the temple of  Kukulcán) a Mayan pyramid that casts an image of the feathered serpent descending the pyramid on the occasion of the equinox; and one of the three Mnajdra temples in Malta, where during the Equinox, sunlight illuminates the inner chambers.

Equinoxes are also significant events for watching the night sky and are periods where auroras are more likely to occur. Métis Crossing located Northeast of what is today known as Edmonton, Alberta, may be one of the best sites to witness the Equinox’s “nox”. 

The view of the night sky at Métis Crossing has always been a sight to behold, however since last year, the cultural interpretive centre introduced sky-domes where guests can appreciate breathtaking views of the constellations or the aurora borealis from the comfort of their beds. As their website states, “guests can now sleep under the stars in these Sky Watching Domes to gain an appreciation for how the Métis people used the stars and sky to navigate, and how the sky was used as a clock, calendar, and provided critical instructions for understanding when to plant, hunt, and work the land” (https://metiscrossing.com/).  

For more information, visit Métis Crossing’s website or email metiscrossing@metis.org.