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Clockwork Universe – As The World Turns

March 19, 2010

Spring, Sunshine and the Sea

Tomorrow, March 20, 2010 is the first day of Spring. It is sunny in Oregon and we’re off to the coast for the weekend. We stay on the Siltez Bay in Lincoln City. The photo used as the header of this blog was shot there.

Each morning I eagerly check the Weather Channel, not just to catch the weather,but to see how much longer the days are getting. It’s usually two or three minutes each day. Plus, with the extra time thrust from Daylight Savings Time, a cheat – but, we’ll take it – we are on our way to better weather and longer days. Hooray!

Friday Fun with the Change of the Seasons and the Solar System

Musing about this wonderful time of year and marveling how the cherry tree outside our window knows it’s time to flower. I turn to Google the – not evil – wise one. He points me to a nice article by Ann-Marie Imbornoni and Elissa Haney on InfoPlease. Here’s an excerpt…

The Rite of Spring

March 20, 2010, is a date that most of us recognize as symbolic of changing seasons. As we welcome spring, people south of the equator are actually gearing up for the cooler temperatures of autumn.

What Happens at the Equinox?

Far from being an arbitrary indicator of the changing seasons, March 20 (March 21 in some years) is significant for astronomical reasons. On March 20, 2010, at precisely 1:32 P.M. EDT (March 20, 17:32 Universal Time), the Sun will cross directly over the Earth’s equator. This moment is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. For the Southern Hemisphere, this is the moment of the autumnal equinox.

Equinox Means “Equal Night”

Translated literally, equinox means “equal night.” Because the Sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes. A second equinox occurs each year on September 22 or 23; in 2010, it will be on September 22 at 11:09 P.M. EDT. This date will mark the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Southern (vernal denotes “spring”).

Reasons for the Seasons

These brief but monumental moments owe their significance to the 23.4 degree tilt of the Earth’s axis. Because of the tilt, we receive the Sun’s rays most directly in the summer. In the winter, when we are tilted away from the Sun, the rays pass through the atmosphere at a greater slant, bringing lower temperatures. If the Earth rotated on an axis perpendicular to the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, there would be no variation in day lengths or temperatures throughout the year, and we would not have seasons. Read full article…

Crazy ‘Bout an Orrery

The graphic shows a simple Orrery to illustrate the Solar System.  I’m not sure why, but I’m crazy ’bout an Orrery (Mercury) and want to buy or build one sometime. Maybe it’s like the sense of wonder you can see in the children’s faces in the superb painting from Wikipedia.

A Philosopher Giving that Lecture on the Orrery, in which a Lamp is put in place of the Sun (sometimes called simply The Orrery) is a painting (oil on canvas, ca. 1766) by Joseph Wright of Derby depicting a public lecture about a model solar system, with a lamp—in place of the sun—illuminating the faces of the audience. Wright captures the spirit of the Enlightenment, with knowledge as a force of moral uplift for the audience of commoners under the tutelage of the natural philosopher.

More Orrery for Friday Funnies Follows…

Earl Your Universe is Served

An orrery, a model of the solar system named after the 4th Earl of Orrery

The first modern orrery was built circa 1704 by George Graham and Thomas Tompion.[1] Graham gave the first model (or its design) to the celebrated instrument maker John Rowley of London to make a copy for Prince Eugene of Savoy. Rowley was commissioned to make another copy for his patron Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery, from which the device took its name. This model was presented to Charles’ son John, later the 5th Earl. Wikipedia

Google points, Wikipedia and other sites explain and Google’s brother YouTube shows and plays for you. All, fast and free, man – I love the Internet (L.A.). Here’s some cool Orrery oriented videos.

Gary’s Glorious Globes

Gods-A-Crankin’ & He’s Got the Whole World in His Lap

Gears of God

Whir of the Worlds

Here’s a few more fun ones…

Orrery Simulation, Perpetual Motion and Build Your Own, there’s lots more online – go look.

Me, I’m heading to the beach to watch the real thing, be a part of it. Not satisfied with just a Kodachrome life.

By the way, each Friday Fun Frolics we spend extra time seeding the posts with tasty nuggets of music and humor. Harvest them like squirrels seek nuts. Last week we had Phone Follies and Friday Funnies Follow… with a great piece about Alexander Graham Bell and the Rings of Uranus.

Enjoy Every Equinox Earl!


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