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Does the Sun Rise in the East?

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bobwilson
525215.  Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:51 pm Reply with quote

One thing that's always puzzled me:

March 21st is "the first day of spring" right? And a season must surely last 3 months - so June 21st should be the first day of summer. So why is it Mid-summers day then?

 
mckeonj
525231.  Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:16 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson:
In former times there were only two seasons recognised, Summer and Winter, which were divided by the Equinoxes (March 21 and September 21 in the modern calendar). Midsummer and Midwinter were marked at the Solstices (Sun Standstill - June 21 and December 21 in modern calendar).
The recognition of Spring and Autumn came along later, and with the various reorganisations of the calendar, really messed things up.
In other words, the 'first day of spring' has nothing to do with Midsummer's Day.
An ode to Spring in the Bronx
De Spring has sprung
Dr grass is riz
I wonder where de boidies is?
De boid is on de wing.
Don't be so absoid!
De wing is on the boid.

 
eggshaped
695432.  Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:42 am Reply with quote

Does anyone have any fool-proof ways of finding North that work all year round? I use my iPhone, but I'm looking for other tricks.

 
cornixt
696278.  Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:51 am Reply with quote

What's the name of the application you use on your iPhone? That should give you an answer.

 
gruff5
696310.  Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:56 am Reply with quote

the gnomons (pointers) of correctly set-up sundials point to the North Pole star. If your familiar with the night sky, you can find North at night from said star.

satellite TV dishes point, very roughly, in the opposite direction to North

the sun at noon is due South - opposite of North

 
deadstick
769740.  Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:54 pm Reply with quote

gruff5--

The gnomon of a sundial points at the north celestial pole, and the North Star is only an approximation to this: it's off by eight tenths of a degree.

The pointing direction of a satellite dish is indeed very roughly south, emphasis on "very". It can differ by twenty or thirty degrees, depending on its longitude and the right ascension of the selected satellite.

The direction of the Sun is south at local solar noon, or culmination, which is the same thing...not noon local standard time. The difference can be over seven degrees in conventional time zones, and over twenty in places like Iceland.

rj

 
bobwilson
769987.  Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:21 am Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
bobwilson:
In former times there were only two seasons recognised, Summer and Winter, which were divided by the Equinoxes (March 21 and September 21 in the modern calendar). Midsummer and Midwinter were marked at the Solstices (Sun Standstill - June 21 and December 21 in modern calendar).
The recognition of Spring and Autumn came along later, and with the various reorganisations of the calendar, really messed things up.
In other words, the 'first day of spring' has nothing to do with Midsummer's Day.


Makes sense - but is it true? And it leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

When is this "former times" and when did it end? When did Spring and Autumn appear?

 
bobwilson
769988.  Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:23 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
Does anyone have any fool-proof ways of finding North that work all year round? I use my iPhone, but I'm looking for other tricks.


Which North? A common or garden compass would probably suffice for most purposes.

 
Jenny
770161.  Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:42 pm Reply with quote

You can find north without a compass if you have an analogue watch.

 
Ion Zone
770665.  Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:18 pm Reply with quote

You beat me to it. :P

 
tchrist
771280.  Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:57 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
You can find north without a compass if you have an analogue watch.

Jenny,

I’m wondering whether these things about where the sun is aren’t reversed for our antipodean friends. If for us the sun rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest, for them, must we replace south with north? I refuse to swap the east–west parts though, unless I’m standing on my head. Or am I already confused?

Did you know that maps used to have east at the top? Hence, orient, orientation. Look at Tolkien’s map in The Hobbit, the one that Gandalf got from the dying Thráin in Sauron’s dungeons and on which Elrond reads the moon letters when they stop in Rivendell. That map has east at the top and west at the bottom, north to the left and south to the right. Apparently this was once commonly done. Our use of to orient seems to be a vestige of that use: to find east.

Even odder, while one can use orientar‑se in Portuguese for “to orient (oneself)”, one can also use nortear‑se to mean — well, pretty much the same thing: to get one’s bearings. If you have a Portuguese–Spanish dictionary and look up the Spanish equivalent for Portuguese nortear, it just says orientar.

I think having an English verb for determining which way is north would be useful. The word boreate appears to be untaken, so let’s neologue it. I hereby nominate boreate  to mean to find north, < L. Boreas, Boreālis < Gr. βορέας, the north wind.

Sound good?

--tom
    PS: Why do I keep wanting to capitalize the cardinal compass points⁇

 

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