Sunday, December 21, 2003

This planet's rocking

In the northern hemisphere, today is the winter solstice. This means that the planet is at the place in its orbit where the north pole is tilted as far away from the sun as it gets over the course of the year. Which is good, since it means the days start getting longer as of now.

Here is what the earth looks like today:

Solstice sun map

Note that right now there are places in the north that never see the sun, while the Antarctic is partying all night. My latitude (NW US) is damn cold at night, and you can see that at that height on the map, the night is like one-and-a-half times as long as the day.

Here is what the earth looked like 3 months ago, at the vernal equinox (when the tilt of the earth was aligned such that the north and south poles were the same distance from the sun):

Equinox sun map

See how much better everything is when we share? Here comes the sun, doot do doot doo...