Solstice

Question of The Day, December 22, 2012 ~ Winter and Summer Solstice 2012 ~

On this day which is New Year’s Day for Gaia, in terms of her journey around the sun, it is interesting to me to contemplate what has motivated humans to develop a calendar which tears us out of the fabric of Nature’s monthly and annual cycles into something man-made and arbitrary. What is the significance of solstice to you, and what are your thoughts about the calendar thing I just mentioned?

The major problem with calendars is the the earth does not currently take a whole number of days to go around the sun.
This leads to leap years, with extra days, to try and keep things in sequence.

There are a several of other minor problems, in that day length and year length are constantly changing, and they depend on how you measure them.

The biggest thing in respect to this discussion is that the sidereal year (year as measured against distant galaxies) is different from the year as measured from equinox to equinox (equinoxial year) by about 20 minutes a year. Thus there is a drift between the year as measured against the constellations, and the years as measured against the equinox.

There are many possible ways of measuring years, and all have their perspectives and uses.
For those in lower latitudes (I live at 42.25 South) then equinox to equinox is very noticeable. For those in the tropics, it makes much less sense.

Nature doesn’t have simple cycles, it has many different cycles, which vary substantially in their effects depending where on earth you are.

Other effects like the tide dragging on the moon speeds up the moon (moving it further away by about an inch a year) and slows down the day length (by a millisecond or so each year).

Solar storms can alter the day length quite significantly, depending on how they hit.

Science is really quite amazing, much more interesting than old superstitions 😉

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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