Master Index of Winter

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  1. Shortest day of 2017 — Winter Solstice

 

Vernal Equinox diagram

On Dec. 21, 2017, or Thursday, the sun will hug the horizon. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it will seem to barely rise — hardly peeking above a city’s skyline or a forest’s snow-covered evergreens — before it swiftly sets.

For months, the orb’s arc across the sky has been slumping, shortening each day.

In New York City, for example, the sun will be in the sky for just over nine hours — roughly six hours less than in June at the summer solstice. The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year, before the sun reverses course and climbs higher into the sky. (At the same time, places like Australia in the Southern Hemisphere mark the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.)

Today, Jan 21, is the shortest day of 2017 in New Jersey. Here is a picture of sunset at Edison, New Jersey at 4:33 PM.

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The Solar Eclipse

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Eclipses occur when a moon or planet moves into the shadow of another object. In the case of a solar eclipse, the moon comes in between the sun and the earth and completely blocks the sun from a viewer on earth as shown above. This obviously can happen during the day time when the sun is up. Note that you can view a solar eclipse only from a small part of the earth as it is far larger than the moon. From other parts you will get a partial view of the sun during the eclipse.

Also, because of how much larger the Earth is than the Moon and how distant the Moon is, a total solar eclipse only occurs over a narrow range of the Earth at any given time.


The Solar Eclipse


Total Solar Eclipse

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A total solar eclipse is one of the most spectacular sights on Earth, and one that’s eluded the continental United States for nearly a century. Due to the elliptical, inclined orbits of the Sun, Moon and Earth, alignments where the Moon’s shadow passes across the Earth’s surface are rare, occurring only approximately once a year. Because of how much larger the Earth is than the Moon and how distant the Moon is, a total solar eclipse only occurs over a narrow range of the Earth at any given time.

On August 21, 2017, the Great American Eclipse occured, with a path of totality cutting from the Oregon coast all the way to the edge of South Carolina, casting darkness over 14 states. Although similar eclipses repeat in cycles, the lower 48 states haven’t seen a total solar eclipse that’s gone coast-to-coast since 1918, which almost confirmed Einstein’s greatest theory to the entire world.

Total solar eclipse 1999 in France.

Total solar eclipse 1999 in France. (Luc Viatour, lucnix.be)


Image credit: Mir / RSA, 1999, of the Moon's shadow falling on Earth, during a total solar eclipse as seen from space.

Image credit: Mir / RSA, 1999, of the Moon’s shadow falling on Earth, during a total solar eclipse as seen from space.

Note that, if you are standing only in the dark part of the earth, you will experience a total solar eclipse, that is, the sun will be completely cut off from your view for a few minutes before it slowly starts emerging again.


Futere dates of solar eclipse

The continental United States experienced a solar eclipse  on August 21, 2017. But if you got clouded out thas time, don’t despair. Totality returns to the United States in 2024, and then again in 2045 and 2052. Although hotels, campgrounds, and special-event venues are already booked solid, there’s nothing to stop you from driving down to the path of totality the night before. Pack into your car, bring lots of water (and some food), and when totality does arrive, look for the Sun’s corona and stars during the key moments.

References

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/08/04/americas-previous-coast-to-coast-eclipse-almost-proved-einstein-right/#4908013237c3

lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow).  A lunar eclipse can occur only the night of a full moon.

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Within the central umbra shadow, the moon is totally shielded from direct illumination by the Sun. In contrast, within the penumbra shadow, only a portion of Sunlight is blocked.

Photograph of full moon during the total lunar eclipse of 28 September 2015.

Summer Solstice At Stonehenge & Egypt

Go Back to Summer


Today, June 21st, is the first day of summer 2017. 

The summer solstice is generally understood to mark the first day of summer. The solstice is a time to recall the reverence and understanding early people had for the sky.
Some 5000 years ago, people placed huge stones in a circle on a broad plain in England and aligned them with the June solstice sunrise.

Around the same time Stonehenge was being constructed in England, two great pyramids and then the Sphinx were built on Egyptian sands.


In Egypt

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The Sun setting between two Pyramids on the first day of the Summer (Summer Solstice seen from the Sphinx)


At The Stonehenge

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Revelers watch as the sun rises over the standing stones at the prehistoric monument Stonehenge


Egyptian-Pyramids
Sphinx in the foreground with the pyramids in the background

The Summer Solstice of 2017

Go Back to Summer


Wednesday at 12:24 a.m. Eastern Time marks the summer solstice.  The Northern Hemisphere will dip toward the sun, basking in its warmth for longer than at any other time. The solstice occurs because the Earth spins on a tilted axis.

1) Why do we have a summer solstice, anyway?

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice is when the northern hemosphere of the Earth is most inclined towards the sun and that is why we get the most daylight of the year. Also shows the area around the North Pole that will see 24 houers of day on the first day of summer because of the Earth’s 23.5 degree tilt.

Okay, most people know this one. Earth orbits around the sun on a tilted axis (probably because our planet collided with some other massive object billions of years ago, back when it was still being formed).

So between March and September, Earth’s Northern Hemisphere gets more exposure to direct sunlight over the course of a day. The rest of the year, the Southern Hemisphere gets more. It’s the reason for the seasons:

2) How many hours of sunlight will I get on Tuesday?

That depends on where you live. The further north you are, the more sunlight you’ll see during the solstice. Alaska-based climatologist Brian Brettschneider created this terrific guide:


Sunrise at Stonehenge on the summer solstice, 21 June 2005

The solstice is a time to recall the reverence and understanding early people had for the sky.
Some 5000 years ago, people placed huge stones in a circle on a broad plain in England and aligned them with the June solstice sunrise.
Around the same time Stonehenge was being constructed in England, two great pyramids and then the Sphinx were built on Egyptian sands
If you stood at the Sphinx on the summer solstice and gazed towards the two pyramids, you’d see the sun set exaactly between them.

17th May, 2017

Go Back to Spring


  1. New Jersey: Green with fresh leaves and lush grass

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2. Luxuriant vegetation

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Note the contrasting image below at the onset of Spring, 2nd April. It is the same spot.

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3. A luxuriant tree

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4. Another luxuriant tree

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5. Growing vigorously during middle of Spring

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6. The lush growth of trees and shrubs.

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7. Tree with its fresh leaves against the blue backdrop in New Jersey

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Teeetops in April

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Early Spring (Apr 2)

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Spring blooms April 8, 2017

“When one flower blooms spring awakens everywhere”
― John O’Donohue

“Not only weren’t new ideas coming, I didn’t even FEEL creative” Kerry Gans

“Spring is getting here at last the snow drops are in bud and will bloom in a few days.” Then on April 5 I wrote, “Today our first crocus was in bloom it is very pretty.” I still pay attention to them, and generally note when they come into bloom. Now is the time to decide where you should plant bulbs next fall.

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April 13, 2017

Yesterday when we were in Pittsburg, Rumi was overwhelmed with tree pollens. But I was ok.


April 18 Picture 1

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April 18, Pic 2

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April 18 Pic 3

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April 23, 2016

It’s sneezing and wheezing time

Grabbing the tissue and blowing our nose, sometimes for a long period of time, becomes routine for me starting just around this time.

It’s pollen time.

I get affected just when the big Oaks start blooming. And they start blooming after the small and mid-sized trees. Starting right now.

The cars have a yellow layer. My desk has a coat so discernable that when I pull the tip of my finger across my mouse pad, it leaves a clear trail.

In India, back when I was growing up, I would often hear during this time in smooth uncontaminated বাঙাল:

ওর আউজগা টান উঠসে, ও খেলতে আইবো না।

It was nothing but Spring allergy brought about by pollens. The Calcutta doctors had no concept of Hay fever. There was no medication. Parents had no idea what was going on.

So we would play soccer with the best player missing because তার আজকে “টান” উঠেছে!

Hopefully the level of education about Spring allergy has gone up now .


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