So is the progression from childhood to old age. A sunrise or sunset can be ablaze with brilliance and arouse all the passion, all the yearning, in the soul of the beholder.
Is it the night? Is it the sun, cracked in two by the horizon like an egg, spilling out light? It leaked out of the east and stained the dark sky red, marked the scraps of the cloud with stolen gold.
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Underneath it the road twisted up the mountainside towards the fortress of Fontezarmo - a cluster of sharp towers, ash-black again the wounded heavens. The sunrise was red, black and gold. The colours of their profession. You might assume such a thing as mythical as those beasts that guard the corners of the earth, but I have it on the finest authority, and have, indeed, from time to time, regarded it with my own eyes.
This morning the sun made me adore it. It had, behind the dripping pine trees, the oriental brightness, orange and crimson, of a living being, a rose and an apple, in the physical and ideal fusion of a true and daily paradise. We're events. You say you might not be the same person you were a year ago?
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Well, who is? I'm sure not.
We change, like swirling clouds around a rising sun. A big, cool, empty sky flushed a little above a rim of dark mountains. The landscape 20, feet below gathered itself from the dark and showed a pale gleam of grass, a sheen of water. The red deepened and pulsed, radiating streaks of fire. There hung the sun, like a luminous spider's egg, or a white pearl, just below the rim of the mountains. Suddenly it swelled, turned red, roared over the horizon and drove up the sky like a train engine.
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I knew how far below in the swelling heat the birds were an orchestra in the trees about the villages of mud huts; how the long grass was straightening while dangling locks of dewdrops dwindled and dried; how the people were moving out into the fields about the business of herding and hoeing. And when I do I only write about how I never have time. It's work and it's money and I've written more lists than songs lately.
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I stay up all night to do all these things I need to do, be all these things I want to be, playing with shadows in the darkness that shouldn't be able to exist. Empty bottles and cigarettes while watching the sunrise, why do I complain? I have it all, everything I ever asked for. Even the blind remember a dawn like that. When the Earth is closest to the Sun near perihelion , it orbits faster than the average, so our planet rotates slightly less than it needs to in order to return the Sun to the same exact position after 24 hours.
Because of this effect, and the fact that perihelion occurs just after the December solstice with aphelion happening shortly after the June solstice , the "December solstice" side of the analemma is much larger, with bigger time differences, while the "June solstice" side is much narrower, with smaller departures from the mean time. There's constructive interference of these two effects during the end of the year, but destructive interference during mid-year. The equation of time is determined by both the shape of a planet's orbit and its axial tilt, as well as how they align. The equation of time , which is the combined effect of our revolution around the Sun and its orbital eccentricity with the effect of our rotation and axial tilt, is the same across all latitudes on Earth.
In the northern hemisphere, even though the days are longer, sunrise and sunset are both shifted towards slightly earlier times at earlier dates. Someone close to the Arctic circle will see their earliest sunrise occur days before the solstice, while someone at mid-latitudes around where Washington, D. In the southern hemisphere, similar shifts occur in a latitude-dependent fashion, except this gives you your earliest sunsets, as the days are shorter. The earliest and latest sunrises and sunsets on the summit of Mauna Kea, close to the Tropic of Cancer, will be shifted from the solstice by multiple weeks.
Similarly, because of the way the equation of time changes where it switches sign very close to each solstice , the latest sunsets for northern hemisphere observers see the same latitude-dependent shifts, except after the June solstice.
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Close to the Arctic circle, latest sunsets occur days after the solstice; mid-latitudes see their latest sunsets about a week after solstice; Tropic of Cancer-like latitudes get their latest sunsets right around the 4th of July. In the southern hemisphere, similar shifts occur in the same latitude-dependent fashion. The big difference is that you'll get your latest sunrises of the year at those times. The Earth in orbit around the Sun, with its rotational axis shown. All worlds in our solar system have seasons determined by either their axial tilt, the ellipticity of their orbits, or a combination of both.
What's interesting about all of this is that what the northern and southern hemisphere experience during the June solstice isn't exactly flipped during the December solstice. Because the equation of time has much more pronounced changes when the effects of obliquity and ellipticity constructively interfere, the time shifts are larger around the December solstice than the June solstice. This is something you might have intuited by looking at the shape of the analemma. The big lobe, corresponding to the December solstice, sees much more dramatic changes. If you photograph the Sun every day at noon, your analemma will appear perfectly vertical left.
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Before noon upper right , the analemma appears to rotate counterclockwise towards the horizon, while after noon, it appears to rotate clockwise with respect to the horizon. These images are further proof, for any doubters out there, that the Earth is round. When planet Earth swings close by the Sun, its motion is significantly faster than at any other time, meaning that we experience large changes in how much our clocks depart from an astronomical "mean time" between sunrise and sunset.
There are two other points where the equation of time goes back to a symmetric state: on April 14th and August 30th. These points, approximately 3 weeks after the March equinox and 3 weeks before the September equinox, have no special significance. They are determined by the way our seasons, determined by axial tilt, align with our planet's orbit around our Sun. Over the course of a day year, the Sun appears to move not only up-and-down in the sky, as determined by our axial tilt, but ahead-and-behind, as determined by our elliptical orbit around the Sun.
When both effects are combined, the pinched figure-8 that results is known as an analemma. The shape of our analemma, and Earth's equation of time, are not fixed. Approximately 5, years from now, our planet's perihelion and aphelion will be aligned with our equinoxes, which means our analemma will change from a figure-8 shape to a teardrop shape. When this alignment reaches perfection, headed our way in the relatively distant future, our earliest sunrise and latest sunset will occur on the summer solstice, and our latest sunrise and earliest sunset will occur on the winter solstice.
see url Although the specific times at which those events occur will vary by latitude, they will all occur on the same dates for all observers on Earth. As long as our planet's axis precesses, which should continue for longer than our Sun shines, our sunset and sunrise times will continue to change from year-to-year. Thanks to our axial tilt and elliptical orbit, we can finally come to understand how.
But solstices don't determine everything about a day's length, and that's what Patreon supporter Ben Turner wants to know, asking:. When we're close to the June solstice, everything is earlier.