The earth spins around its axis, an imaginary line going right through the planet between the north and south poles. The axis is tilted somewhat off the plane of the earth's revolution around the sun. The tilt of the axis is 23.5 degrees; thanks to this tilt, we enjoy the four seasons. For several months of the year, one half of the earth receives more direct rays of the sun than the other half.
When the axis tilts towards the sun, as it does between June and September, it is summer in the northern hemisphere but winter in the southern hemisphere. Alternatively, when the axis points away from the sun from December to March, the southern hemisphere enjoys the direct rays of the sun during their summer months.
June 21 is called the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and simultaneously the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Around December 21 the solstices are reversed and winter begins in the northern hemisphere.
On June 21, there are 24 hours of daylight north of the Arctic Circle (66.5° north of the equator) and 24 hours of darkness south of the Antarctic Circle (66.5° south of the equator). The sun's rays are directly overhead along the Tropic of Cancer (the latitude line at 23.5° north, passing through Mexico, Saharan Africa, and India) on June 21.
Without the tilt of the earth's axis, we would have no seasons. The sun's rays would be directly overhead of the equator all year long. Only a slight change would occur as the earth makes its slightly elliptical orbit around the sun. The earth is furthest from the sun about July 3; this point is known as the aphelion and the earth is 94,555,000 miles away from the sun. The perihelion takes place about January 4 when the earth is a mere 91,445,000 miles from the sun.
When summer occurs in a hemisphere, it is due to that hemisphere receiving more direct rays of the sun than the opposite hemisphere where it is winter. In winter, the sun's energy hits the earth at oblique angles and is thus less concentrated.
During spring and fall, the earth's axis is pointing sideways so both hemispheres have moderate weather and the rays of the sun are directly overhead the equator. Between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° latitude south) there really are no seasons as the sun is never very low in the sky so it stays warm and humid ("tropical") year-round. Only those people in the upper latitudes north and south of the tropics experience seasons. HAVE A GREAT SUMMER EVERYONE
For the second day in a row, the sun has sent a blast of electrically charged particles toward Earth — and according to SpaceWeather.com, that means we're in for a double shot of geomagnetic activity early Saturday. But not to worry: The most noticeable effect of the twin M-class blasts should be heightened auroral displays.
Both of the coronal mass eruptions, or CMEs, originated in a sunspot region known as AR1504, which is currently pointing in Earth's direction. AR1504 has been shooting off a series of flares in recent days, including an M1.2-class flare on Wednesday and an M1.5 today. None of the flares have approached the X-class level, which would have the potential for significant disruptions in power grids or satellite-based communication. SpaceWeather.com projects that the CMEs thrown off by those two flares will merge into one wave of particles that's due to hit Earth's magnetic field around 6:16 a.m. ET Saturday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center, meanwhile, predicts that the CME will arrive "late on 16 June." The prediction center noted that today's flare sparked a minor radio blackout and "has the potential" to produce more such storms.
Hong Kong Top Ten Bars Tour / music by pinksideofthemoon
Number 1 "OZONE" Being the highest bar in the world, OZONE is proudly positioned on the top floor of the hotel. Guests can indulge themselves with signature cocktails and an exotic selection of Asian tapas while enjoying DJ beats. Wind down the day with a few drinks and enjoy the gentle breezes at the outdoor terrace that captures the spectacular views of the city and Victoria Harbour.
Thousands of scientists and skywatchers around the world have made detailed plans to monitor today's transit of Venus across the sun, but chances are that word of the last-in-a-lifetime event is just now sinking in for millions of just plain folks — so what's the big deal? And what's the best way to watch the transit?
We've had dozens of stories about Venus' day in the sun over the past few weeks, but for those of you who are just tuning in, here are the top 10 things to keep in mind about today's transit, whether your skies are sunny or completely socked in: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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1. Get the big picture: Venus comes between Earth and the sun five times in the course of every eight years, but because of the inclination of the planets' orbits, Venus usually misses passing over the sun's disk, as seen from Earth. In fact, that passing-over phenomenon occurs only twice in the typical person's lifetime. Two transits occur eight years apart, but each pair is separated by either 105.5 years or 121.5 years. We had a Venus transit in 2004, and we're having another one today. The next one won't come until 2117. So if you're into rare sky phenomena, today is as good as it gets.
2. Find out when and where: Venus' disk begins to pass over the left edge of the sun's disk a little after 6 p.m. ET, and makes a stately crossing that lasts until about 12:50 a.m. ET. (Of course, the sun will have set on the East Coast by then.) Some part of the transit will be visible from most locations on Earth — though you're out of luck if you're in eastern South America, western Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, Antarctica or the middle of the Atlantic.
The precise time when different edges of the planet's disk cross the sun's edge is actually a big deal. Those times vary by location on Earth, and the variations can be used to calculate dimensions and distances in the solar system. Today, so much is known about those dimensions that astronomers can predict the key times of the transit based on your location. To find out what you can see when, use the U.S. Naval Observatory's transit computer.
American deepspace band pinksideofthemoon has unveiled their secret plan to be living (and playing) on the pink moon by 2023. According to their video which hit YouTube today.http://pinksideofthemoon.com/ The team will take countless years to reach their destination, with additional crews heading off every few years after that to live out their remaining days establishing a permanent settlement. While this sounds like the plot of a science fiction film, the project and the company behind it seem legitimate, having apparently been endorsed by world renowned mixer John Fryer.Well known for his work with Depeche Mode, Cocteau Twins and NIN.His paper on the pinksideofthemoon will soon be published including Lost in space, Thistown, Inside my head and Ann Landers (I wanna write a letter)
A private space capsule called Dragon soared into the predawn sky Tuesday, riding a pillar of flame like its beastly namesake on a history-making trip to the International Space Station.
The unmanned capsule, built by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX venture, is the first non-governmental spacecraft to launch to the space station, ushering in a new era of partnership between the public and private. Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX, known more formally as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., launched its Dragon capsule at 3:44 a.m. ET Tuesday from a pad here at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It blasted off atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, a 157-foot (48-meter) booster powered by nine Merlin rocket engines. The space station was flying 249 miles above the North Atlantic Ocean as the rocket lifted off, NASA officials said. [Launch Photos: SpaceX's Dragon Blasts Off for Space Station] The Falcon 9 rocket's second stage is also reportedly carrying ashes from 308 people, including actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on the 1960s television series "Star Trek," and Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper. The ashes were flown under a deal with the memorial spaceflight company Celestis. The SpaceX launch vehicle is named after the Millennium Falcon of "Star Wars," while the capsule got its moniker from the Peter, Paul and Mary song, "Puff, the Magic Dragon."
http://www.virgingalactic.com/ RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY!
Skywatchers take note: The biggest full moon of the year is due to arrive this weekend. The moon will officially become full Saturday (May 5) at 11:35 p.m. EDT. And because this month's full moon coincides with the moon's perigee — its closest approach to Earth — it will also be the year's biggest. The moon will swing in 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) from our planet, offering skywatchers a spectacular view of an extra-big, extra-bright moon, nicknamed a supermoon. And not only does the moon's perigee coincide with full moon this month, but this perigee will be the nearest to Earth of any this year, as the distance of the moon's close approach varies by about 3 percent, according to meteorologist Joe Rao, SPACE.com's skywatching columnist. This happens because the moon's orbit is not perfectly circular.
This month's full moon is due to be about 16 percent brighter than average. In contrast, later this year on Nov. 28, the full moon will coincide with apogee, the moon's farthest approach, offering a particularly small and dim full moon. Though the unusual appearance of this month's full moon may be surprising to some, there's no reason for alarm, scientists warn. The slight distance difference isn't enough to cause any earthquakes or extreme tidal effects, experts say. However, the normal tides around the world will be particularly high and low. At perigee, the moon will exert about 42 percent more tidal force than it will during its next apogee two weeks later, Rao