Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

Sunwheel tells of the coming of autumnal equinox

BTequinoxMost college students rely on cell phones, watches, laptops or even wall calendars to keep track of the changing days and seasons, but one University of Massachusetts professor is inviting students and others from the local community to learn about one of humankind’s oldest time-telling devices – the sunwheel.

Judith Young, a UMass astronomy professor, will hold the final of four informational viewings of the autumnal equinox at sunset today at 6 p.m. Previous gatherings were held at sunrise and sunset beginning on Tuesday.

The sunwheel may pale in comparison to the interactivity offered today by such programs as Google Calendar, but sunwheels have been a valuable resource for cultures dating back to 4,800 B.C. One of the most well-known examples is Stonehenge in England.

The University has hosted such gatherings for 12 years, and will celebrate 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy, according to the official website for the UMass Sunwheel,

A sunwheel is an outdoor stone circle. The standing stones line up with the locations on the horizon of the rising and setting sun at the times of the solstices and equinoxes.

For participants interested in learning about the sky, Young will discuss the significance of the equinoxes and solstices, the cause of the seasons and phases of the moon, and the story behind building the 130-foot diameter UMass Sunwheel, said a press release for the eventShe will also discuss other calendar sites around the world, including the ancient astronomical observatories at Stonehenge and Callanish in Scotland. In addition, there will be an explanation of the moon’s 18.6-year cycle, also called the major lunar standstill, the release said.

“Bring your questions, your curiosity, and be prepared for cool temperatures when the sun is down,” added the release.

Wearing waterproof footwear and insect repellent is also suggested. Gathering will last for about one hour, and a $3 suggested donation will help with the cost of additional stonework and future programs planned for the UMass Sunwheel. T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available for purchase. In the event of rain, the gathering will be cancelled.

The UMass Sunwheel is part of The Sunwheel Project, which involved the construction of sunwheels around the world, starting at UMass in 1997.

Gatherings will also be held for the winter solstice on Dec. 21 and 22 at sunrise, or around 7 a.m., and sunset, around 3:30 p.m.

The UMass Sunwheel is located south of Alumni Stadium, just off Rocky Hill Road. It can be reached from the center of Amherst, following Amity Street to the west. After crossing University Drive at the light, continue on Rocky Hill Rd. for about 1/4 mile, and make your first right onto Stadium Drive.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at

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