In short, taking every thing into consideration, the British empire in power and strength may be stated as the greatest that ever existed on earth, as it far surpasses them all in knowledge, moral character, and worth. On her dominions the sun never sets. Before his evening rays leave the spires of Quebec, his morning … Continue reading Does The Sun Set On The British Empire?
The year 2020, newly begun as this post is published, is a leap year. I’ve written before about leap years, and how the occasional leap day added to the end of February keeps our calendar year synchronized with the seasons. For more on that topic, see my posts about February 30th and the Equinox. But … Continue reading Leap Seconds
[D]espite Maskelyne being portrayed in popular literature as a self-seeking academic astronomer with a less-than-personable style, the stories of his interaction with the Nautical Almanac [human] computers reveals that he went to some lengths to provide stop-gap employment to mathematically inclined people, as well as providing long-term stable employment for those with families to support. … Continue reading Rebekah Higgitt (Ed.): Maskelyne
In a previous post, I explained how all the manned moon landings were made with the sun low in the sky behind the Lunar Module, so that long shadows accentuated terrain features, making it easier to locate a safe place to land. But this meant that the LM landed facing into its own shadow, so … Continue reading The Strange Shadows Of Apollo
I’ve got into the habit of checking what the Internet Movie Database has to say about films after I’ve watched them. After rewatching Robert Altman’s 1970 classic M*A*S*H, I happened on something odd in the film’s “Trivia” section at IMDb: The loudspeaker shots and announcements were added after editing had begun, and the filmmakers realized … Continue reading M*A*S*H And The Moon Landings
I’m posting this on March 20, the date of the first equinox of the year. In the northern hemisphere, we call it the spring or vernal equinox, because it marks the start of astronomical spring in northern latitudes. (The meteorological seasons follow the calendar months, so meteorological spring started on March 1.) Of course, for … Continue reading Equinox
This series of posts is about what the sky would look like to an observer travelling at close to the speed of light. In Part 1, I described the effects of light aberration on the apparent position of the stars; in Part 2, I introduced the effects of Doppler shift on the frequency of the … Continue reading The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 4
This is the third of a series of posts about what the sky would look like for the passengers aboard an interstellar spacecraft moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light, like the Bussard interstellar ramjet above. In the first post, I wrote about light aberration, which will cause the apparent direction of … Continue reading The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 3
So this puzzle isn’t about sunshine (the amount of time the sun shines from a clear sky), or even about the intensity of sunlight (which decreases with increasing latitude), but about cumulative daylight—the length of time between sunrise and sunset in a given place, added up over the course of a year.* It’s a surprisingly … Continue reading Which Place Gets The Most Daylight?
pɛrɪˈhiːlɪən perihelion: that point in the orbit of a planet, comet or other body at which it is closest to the sun Not to be confused with the parhelion, which I wrote about last month. Today (4 January 2017), the Earth is at perihelion, its closest to the sun, a mere 98% of its average … Continue reading Perihelion: Part 1