Astronony and Science

[from Gary Cziko 930104.1730 GMT] (Damn, I typed "92" again.)

Bill Powers (930104.0900) observes:

Today, Jan. 4, is the day of latest sunrise; the earliest sunset
occurred way back on Dec. 7. We got an elliptical orbit.

Bill, you were more careful last time you made astronomical observations
when you took into consideration that not everyone on CSGnet lives north of
the equator.

Let's see if I can figure out how the southern hemispherians see this.
Since their days are long when ours are in the north are short, today must
be the day of either the earliest sunrise or latest sunset. To figure out
which is bit harder.

Since we all use the same terminator (earth shadow line) for sunrise, and
share the "other" terminator for sunset (the earth spins in the same
direction no matter where you), I don't see why they should have the
earliest sunrise while we have our latest. So I can only guess that today
must be the latest sunset down under.

Avery, am I right?--Gary

P.S. Isn't it interesting how being part of a global community gives a
different perspective on things. General statements are less likely to be
true. I suspect that this is how science approaches the truth. The more
people testing out proposed general theories the more likely the refutation
of inadequate and the (if only temporary) retention of better ones.

A colleague of mine has school children do science projects on stuff like
this via e-mail. Things like comparing the shadow length of vertical meter
stick at local noon on the same day in Fairbanks, New York, and Miami
provides lots of interesting data for these kids. Isn't this sort of what
we're doing on CSGnet?--Gary


Gary A. Cziko Telephone: 217.333.8527
Educational Psychology FAX: 217.244.7620
University of Illinois E-mail:
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