The Hammock Philosopher
From tide to tide Mister Blue Sky waxes philosophic from his hammock as he sits at anchor along the Tropical Highway. The following are topics of tropics that may light your way as you follow him down the the Tropicville Road.
LESSON # 2:
The Vernal Equinox -THE EQUINOXTASY OF SUNSETOLOGY-BY THE HAMMOCK PHILOSOPHER
Bye Bye Adios February 2013 you are now history, gone forever (unless you recorded it) …. time to reel in the 2013 Vernal Equinox !
“Big Ting Mon”-Coming March 20, 2013—–The Vernal Equinox
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So if by chance you are hovering over the equator on March 20 then on that moment and calendar day the sun will be directly over head at mid day. The sun will rise due east and set due west. For any of you in the Southern Hemisphere it is the beginning point of autumn. But it is the start of spring for the Northern Hemisphere so its celebration time. Set your watch, tap your smart phone or tablet to send you a clock alert for 11:02 Universal Standard Time which is the precise moment of the Vernal Equinox. That’s Greenwich England time for those of you who came baked to your sunsetology class, which is 6:02 eastern standard time. So basically when the sun is rising on March 20, 2013 in North, Central or South America it will be a nano second close to the actual moment of the equinox. So wake up or don’t go to sleep, watch the sunrise that morning, breath in breath out slowly, spin around 7 times chanting “here comes the sun do do dua” and you will reach the bodily state of Equinoxtasy (MisterBlueSkyism). If by chance you see the Green Flash at that moment immediately buy lottery tickets for that day and play the numbers 03202013 or 20032013 but don’t forget to plug in 1102 as well ….
To reach the state of Equinoxtasy you will have to be one with the sun
So at the precise moment that the sun crosses the celestial equator (which is the imaginary line around the sky above the equator of Planet Earth) we the beings of the Planet Earth in the Northern Hemisphere will ascend into spring time. This means that the sun is more or less half way to the point of its northern most journey (Summer Solstice) which started …….when?…….anyone… anyone … Bueller … Bueller?
Ok for all of you baked out earth planet beings …… the sun started its northward migration at the moment of the Winter Solstice which took place on December 21 2012 and will also take place on the same date 2013. So what is happening here ….. we are really defining the area of our planet called THE TROPICS.
The latitude as of the Autumnal Equinox to the latitude of as to the Vernal Equinox defines the north-south area around the planet which is known as the Tropics.
Lets bone up on our Latin. The word “tropics” comes from the GREEK word (oops) “Tropei” which means “turn”. So it appears that the sun turns around …. does a 180 ….. turns back at the TIME OF EQUINOX. If you are breathing air between 23 26′ 16″ south latitude and 23 26′ 16″ north latitude you are OFFICIALLY IN THE TROPICS ….The respective lines of demarcation are known as The Tropic of Cancer and The Tropic of Capricorn. The Equator is located at zero degrees latitude (North or South,) is 24,901.55 miles long and divides the earth into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. To take this one more step the Prime Meridian is located at zero degrees longitude (East or West), it divides earth into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres (and is the line from which all other lines of longitude are measured).
Get this, the earth spins faster in the tropics and fastest at the Equator. The great sunsetologist, Sir Jimmy Buffet, said it best, if you want to change your attitude change your latitude dude! There is a grand total of 46 52′ 32″ degrees of latitude from which to enjoy the Tropical Highway. That is one hell of an attitude adjustment area. Living in the Tropics is living in the planetary fast lane. Why, its all because the earth bulges slightly more at the equator so it spins faster along the equator to keep up. Get this, the Tropical year is actually shorter than the real year which we measure as one full orbit around the sun … LIFE IS FASTER IN THE TROPICS …. thank you Hipparchus for discovering this back in the second century BC ….. he used the equinox cycle rather than the solstice cycle to determine that life in the Tropical Highway is about 20 minutes shorter each year.
World Map Showing The Tropics
Ok back to our real Latin lesson. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because night and day are about equal length on this date ….. since we all learned in sunsetology class that there are two equinoxes during the year the Vernal Equinox occurs during the spring because ……. ? … anyone … anyone….Bueller…Bueller? …because “ver” in Latin means S P R I N G. The Equinox that happens on September 22 is called the Autumnal Equinox … “autumnus” in Latin means …. autumn. Oh by the way Julius Caesar in 45 BC set March 25 as the official date for the Vernal Equinox not knowing the date kind of changes each year …. duh!. …what was the name of his calendar? …anyone………….”Julian”
On the equinoctial day (not my word-it actually is a word) the very center of the Sun spends basically equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth … the night and day are roughly the same length for you where ever you are on that day.
Confused, amused, bored? Disagree? Well I know the sun doesn’t physically really do a 180 twice a year. Its all about the Celestial Sphere—–the path the sun appears to trace through the stars (as seen from earth) during the earth’s orbit around the sun equals the Celestial Sphere. The two Equinoxes occur when the sun crosses the Celestial Equator (the earth’s equator extended out to the celestial sphere). We are actually talking about the Ecliptic or as Mister blue Sky says “Ecliptology” but not to be confused with Egyptology which the Hammock Philosopher knows little because ….. only the very southern part of Egypt is on the Tropical Highway. The Ecliptic is simply the plane of earth’s orbit projected in all directions out to the celestial sphere.
This of course is also about the tilt of the earth’s axis …. its obliquity – is one measure of this Interplanetary struggle of gravitation aka Battle Gravita between the sun, moon and earth (and Avatar). Obliquity measures how far over a planet or moon is tipped relative to its orbit; in the Earth’s case, it’s about 23 degrees. In June, the north pole is tipped towards the Sun. The northern hemisphere experiences longer days and more direct sunlight. In December, the north pole is tipped away from the Sun, thus the seasonal change.
… don’t worry be happy …. not much axis talk here … except you should know why on certain days everything seems to go either wrong or great.
According to Mister Blue Sky these crazy bad or crazy good days are caused by “Nutations”. A Nutation is caused by the irregular motions of the axis of rotation of the earth caused by short term motions of moon and sun, which can effect short term oscillations of earth’s axis. So if you are having a bad day at work just tell your boss its not your fault is just an earth nutational moment aka your nutation time of month.
One sad note …. you will not live long enough to complete a full Lunisolar Precession for it takes about 26,000 years for the full rotation of the earth’s axis relative to the moon and sun. If this makes you depressed then you “got dem lunisolar blues” ……
On a final note, if you are or want to stay upon the Tropical Highway …. a word of warning …… the Tropic of Cancer is actually moving southward … it is moving south at rate of almost 1/2 second (latitude) per year as a result of the change in earth’s axis ….. so those of you north of the Tropic of Cancer you have to travel further each year to become tropical ….. you are Chasing The Tropic Of Cancer and those who want to stay tropical are Fleeing The Tropic Of Cancer.
THIS ENDS SUNSETOLOGY LESSON # 2 ….. Get ready, for the Vernal Equinox be big ting mon!
Equinoxtasy by The Hammock Philospher
Waxing Philosophic In A Hammock Along The Road To Tropicville, Mister Blue Sky
Till Next Tide My Blog-Flockers!
Sunsetology Lesson # 1
Waxing Philosophic About the Green Flash
Just Before The Green Flash-You Have To See It Yourself
I did not expect to actually see a Green Flash here in the Bay Islands of Honduras ….. but I did …. right after I took this picture ….. there was a small glowing fluorescent green flash that lasted …. and was gone …… sorry no picture was taken for I wanted to see it (if it occurred) with my own eyes not through the camera lens. The mountains of Honduras can be seen dominating the horizon on clear days from all the Bay Islands. However they actually are more south than west so the sunsets that can be seen are over the Caribbean ocean’s horizon as opposed to be seen setting behind these mountains. This picture was taken from our anchorage at SouthWest Cay near Guanaja. Sadly none of my crew knew about the Green Flash ….. did not pay attention … and missed it!
I am no expert on the subject but did some research on the coconut internet ….. found a few beached net balls of wisdom:
Green Flashes also happen at sunrise (but no one is awake enough to see them).
Green Flashes are the result of a mirage effect created by clear air in conjunction with the green rim that exists on the top of the setting sun which itself is caused by the prism effect of the atmosphere on the setting or rising sun. The lower rim of the setting sun is red and the upper rim is green. So the green rim morphs into a green flash and then back again when such sunsetological event takes place. This green rim is always present but we rarely see it because of the atmospheric conditions. Guess what ….. the moon or a bright planet can also create a green flash when rising or setting.
The Green Flash was used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie(s)……which movie-what major scene? Anyone….Bueller…Bueller…..?
Jules Verne even dedicated one of his novels to the Green Flash “Le Rayon Verte” 1882 ….. that’s French for “Green Ray”. He also named the related setting sun mirage phenom the “Etruscan Vase” which term is still in use today. This refers to the setting sun effect where a vase like extension of the sun exists, rising from the horizon up into the bottom of the sun sphere. Technically its called an “inferior mirage” which is caused by the sun light refraction. Look it up ….. check it out….be bold …
Blue Flash-Blue Flash-Blue Flash …. a Blue Flash actually exists and is very rare (not be confused with a blue light special). It supposedly happens when the amount of actual blue light is sufficient to be visible, duh ……. also IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A BLUE MOON so lets not go there but once ….
Experiencing a Green Flash or seeing the Etruscan Vase at sunset is a rare moment of Tropicosmic Xtasy …. hopefully you already have or will gaze upon such in the future.
Warning: Taking a hallucinogenic vegetable in an attempt to see one is cheating mother nature.
Disclaimer: Staring at the setting sun can cause eye damage
Waxing Philosophic In A Hammock, The Hammock Philosopher, by Mister Blue Sky
WARNING MALARIA PILLS DO NOT PREVENT UTILIAN DIVE ADDICTION
Thursday January something 2013:
Like many travelers who come to Utila, I now admit I have a diving problem because I still can not find time to sit in a hammock and wax philosophic. There is a harbor front bar here aptly named “Rehab” for the poor wet soles who share this liquid phobia. Rehab needs to create a signature drink called “Wet Dreams”. Just down the Tropicville road from Rehab…about 23 Mister Blue Sky fin kicks is the bar called “Skid Row”. I guess if you flunk out at Rehab you end up at Skid Row or is it vice versa……..there is another harbor front bar called Tranquila Bay, I have been there as well…..you see the diving hand signal “to ascend-go up” there a lot…..I assume it means the opposite of the “out of air” signal…….I am not sure I should recommend this island to my friends et al for I may be contributing to this tropical disease of dive addiction……one must always remember which ever bar you inhabit along the Tropicville Road…”Don’t get Bent”…”breathe slowly and steady”….and when in doubt “always follow your bubbles because your bubbles never lie”….that is the cosmic truth of scubatology…….oh and one last bit of Mister Blue Sky wisdom….always have bigger fins then your buddy just in case Mr Big swims up…….
From a wood chair at Mermaids with three whale sharks staring at me, muchas gracias for tuning into and on with the Hammock Philospher.
Coming soon—– “how to blow your conch” and “how to catch a green flash at sunrise” (instead of at sunset)….stay tuned…Mister Blue Sky