Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Summer

Happy first day of Summer! Today the earth is oriented, due to its tilt on its axis, such that the sun appears directly over the Tropic of Cancer, or 23.44° (23° 27’) north at 1200h (12 noon).
Looking at a global map showing the Tropic of Cancer, I was surprised to see that the sun never appears directly overhead in the continental United States and the Tropic of Cancer doesn't intersect any United States landmass, even missing all of the Hawaiian Islands. With the sun directly over the Tropic of Cancer, the northern hemisphere experiences its longest day light hours day of the year, approximately 14.5 hours. Solstice (Latin ≡ sun stands still) is the day when the movement of the sun, north or south, stops and reverses direction. This day is also known as the Summer Solstice, Northern Solstice, June Solstice, First Point of Cancer, and Taurus Solstice.

I also learned that the "meteorological" definition of "summer" is based on temperature, weather, and day length. In the northern hemisphere the months of June, July, August are considered summer. The meteorological start of the seasons occurs, on average, three weeks before the "astronomically" defined date, due to what is called seasonal lag. The lag is because of thermal mass of the earth, with regions near large bodies of water having a greater lag time than those in drier regions.

Contrary to popular belief, the earth is actually at its furthest point from the sun at this time of the year. The reason for the warmer weather in the summer is all due to the tilt of the earth and the fact that the suns rays are more directly reaching the surface of the northern hemisphere.

Happy Summer,... I'm hot.

Woooo Hoooo, it is summer.

Tanji enjoys his manicured Cul-de-sac,

then watches birds

from the patch of growing sun flowers,


heading to the pond.

Where Uschi is staying cool,

watching the Koi.

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