Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hot Season Triangle

It was 35ºC in Phnom Penh today. After 3 months of blessedly cool, dry weather, the season is changing. Temperatures are beginning to rise. Standing on the roof for a smoke last night I noticed the ‘Hot-Season Triangle’ almost straight up - a landmark of the hot season nighttime sky. The Hot Season Triangle (also known as the 'Winter Triangle' and the 'Summer Triangle' in other parts of the world) is a group of three bright stars (Betelgeuse in the shoulder of Orion, Sirius and Procyon) forming a equilateral triangle. In February and March the Triangle can be seen high in the sky in the early evening, almost straight up about 2-3 hours after sunset here in Cambodia. It is particularly apparent when the moon is full as the moonlight washes out the dimmer stars, leaving the bright stars of the Triangle standing alone. When the Hot Season Triangle sits high in the sky in the early evening it bodes the coming of the heat and the imminent beginning of the ‘mango showers’ - light afternoon rains in the months before the monsoons, so known as they help ripen the mangoes, making the hot season the mango season as well.

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