22 June 2005

Summer Solstice & Moon Illusion

Quote for the day:

Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come."
Italian painter, architect & poet
(1475 – 1564)

Venus, Saturn, Mercury alignment June 24, 2005
Photo credit: Astronomy News

The Summer Solstice arrived yesterday at 10:46 A.M. Pacific Time (06:46 UT) and the full moon (the lowest-hanging full moon in 18 years) is today at 9:14 p.m. Pacific Time (11:14 UT). The day did not pass quietly for us in this area as Mother Nature gave quite a showing for the longest day of the year.

Just after noon the winds picked up and dark clouds rolled over the mountain tops from the west. Then the lightning show began along with thunder that shook the house over and over. LOVE IT! The storm arrived just after 7 P.M and at 10:30 the lightning was still illuminating every corner of my home, which made falling asleep a wee bit tough.

Somewhere in the midst of this electromagnetic show, the rain arrived and came down like the monsoons experienced in Indonesia when I was there and it poured through the night until dawn. Needless to say the air smells wonderful this morning and the plant life has that happy healthy look as the sun sparkles through the dew laden foliage.

Here are a few tidbits on the Summer Solstice:

1. The word Solstice comes from the Latin for sun stands still - (sol, sun; sistit, stands). For several days before and after each solstice, the sun appears to stand still in the sky - its noon time elevation does not seem to change.

Photo credit: KOWOMA-GPS

2. At the time of summer solstice, about June 22, the sun is directly overhead at noon at the Tropic of Cancer parallel of latitude at 23°30' north of the equator; it is the northern boundary of the tropics. This parallel marks the farthest point north at which the sun can be seen directly overhead at noon; north of the parallel the sun appears less than 90° from the southern horizon at any day of the year.

4. June 20-21 is start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

5. The oldest reported solstice celebration took place in Karnak, Egypt at the Temple of Amen-Ra in 3700 B.C. A beam of sunlight illuminating a portion of the temple interior allowed the priests to calculate the solar year.

6. In Tsarist Russia a mock funeral was held to mourn the death of the sun as it passed into the short days of winter.


The Full Moon Illusion
Solar System Live
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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