Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Sun Goes To Bed Earlier

Back some years, I lived with a fellow from Kenya (this, after having dormed with a Ugandan). Both countries are speared through by the Equator.

One characteristic of that fact is the sun rises and sets at the same time every day. Another is there is none of that long, lingering twilight we enjoy. The third is the north and south movement of the sun through the seasons. Of course, the seasons barely, if ever, change, unlike up here where it’s hot or cold during the year.

Back to our story. One of those fellows suddenly realized in the late fall that the sun was setting far to the south and became somewhat alarmed – as if there might be some action we could take to correct the situation. All during the summer he had become accustomed to it being more or less northerly, setting fairly late in the evening.

“You live on the Equator,” I reminded him. “The sun is overhead from morning to night, from January to December. It’s a little different up here at 42 degrees north latitude. As the earth spins around, we go through seasons and the sun apparently moves from north to south and going down around 8:30. That ship has sailed.”

That seemed to make sense, at least for the moment. “Around the end of December, the sun sets about 4:30, then it starts moving north again until the end of June and 8:30.” It’s fun explaining things to people who never moved around much, like Americans who think the whole world is like New York or Chicago. (True story.)


Post a Comment

<< Home