Wednesday 21 June 2023

Solstice Solar Alignment

    Today is the Summer Solstice, which marks the official start of Summer.  Living in the the Interior of British Columbia has made the sunrise and sunset positions of the sun during the year pretty obvious, because you can see it in relation to the mountains.  Today marks the most north/western position where the sun comes up.  I find it interesting that on the Solstice, the sun comes up over the mountain lining up with the direction of the dam of my pond.  Today we had a light overcast so I couldn’t really see the distinct orb of the sun, but from the photo, you can make out its position from the brightest part of the sky.

    At the Winter Solstice, the sun comes up way off to the left side of the photo, and doesn’t even come over the mountain range, as it is viewed from our house.  

    I have always been fascinated by the architecture of past civilizations that were built to highlight the position of the sun, usually the Spring Equinox.  Stonehenge is the most well known example, but in the Americas many civilizations built massive structures to mark the sun’s Equinox position at sunrise.  The Mayan pyramid “El Castillo” at Chichen Itza in Mexico, famously makes a curvy shadow down the steps of the pyramid that joins the statue head of a snake at the bottom, at the Equinox. 

    Of course, the dam of my pond doesn’t come anywhere close to those ancient structures that were purposely built to accent the position of the sun.  In fact the Solstice alignment was a complete accident, but still, I am happy to have noticed it, because it helps me register the relative position of the sun as it changes throughout the year.

    While it is nice to officially be in summer, it is also a bit depressing to know that from now on, the days will be getting shorter and shorter, as we move toward winter.

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