to lengthening our shadows (a toast)

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We did it.

Maks, Pete, Renee and I rode the planet's furthest tilt of precession, toasting the equator with cups of Holy Land Port Wine.

toasting sol.jpg

(I'm waiting on more knowledgeable friends to inform me that I've got "precession" wrong; just as they already have concerning the aphelion - which has little to do with seasons, after all. Not only had I confused the earth's orbit around the sun with planetary tilt in relation to Sol (a common misconception I held until yesterday), Earth is actually closing in on the sun as I type! Perihelion occurs on Jan 3 at 00 Universal Time (UT), which translates (?) to 7:00 pm on January 2nd. Shall we partee?)

There were just over a dozen folk at the UMass Sunwheel this overcast morning. The air was crisp; happy. :-) My new factoid from the lecture provided by a graduate student from UMass' Astronomy Department has to do with the relation of the sun's orbit and the length of one's shadow. At maximum tilt away from the sun (northern hemisphere), the angle (declination) of the sun's highest point in the southern sky (calculate the azimuth) is so low that shadows lengthen. So, take me at 5'6" and the angle of 23.44 degrees ("today's" measurement according to a solar standstill applet). Plug these figures into a shadow length calculator and my shadow extends a wee bit over twelve feet and eight inches. That's two and a third times my actual height!

Anuj, Don, Rajiv, Zixu (!) and Min filled out our cozy group. No one was kilt by any of my food, although Pete's mini-mushroom pies garnered the most praise (my roast chicken held its own).


Conversation ranged from US politics (Huckabee?!) to automobiles (Toyota or Honda for longevity; and do your own mechanical work!), loads of other topics I cannot, err, recall), and a bit of philosophy as we counted down to 1:08 a.m. If we are living in a virtual world - a world of our own creation - does it matter or not how we play the game?

"The goal is always to make a nice tableau painting with the voice.
The more color I can find, the more shadow I can find -
the goal is always to make more nuance and colors."

Italian opera singer, Cecilia Bartoli

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