Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Tale of the Two Suns

I used to live in the northern woods of Maine,USA. The nearest town is six miles away. We lived by the seasons there, and by the Sun. The Sun moves through the sky, rising and setting. Day by day we see her move and change her position in the heavens. In the winter the sun's path starts in the south east and never gets far above the tops of the tress. She sets in the south west. Until one day we barely see her at all!

This day is called the Winter Solstice. It has the shortest number of daylight hours of any other day of the year. Only about nine hours. On this day the Sun does not get far above the horizon here. It is dark for a long time, about fifteen hours. But then on the very next daythe Sun begins her journey back. Each day giving us more and more sunlight, first by seconds, then minutes and hours. 

The days get longer and longer.  Things all around us change, sprout and bloom. Birds and animals that had left, or slept, for the winter return. With each day the Sun's path changes, higher and higher, longer and longer. Her path, so short in the winter, is now by March 21st a journey of more than thirteen hours. This is known as the Ides of March.
Her journey, by April, begins at about 4:30 AM in the north east. She gets very, very high in the sky. And when the Sun finally decides to set, she sits herself down almost where she started. She continues on until the longest day of the year , the Summer Solstice.

On the Summer Solstice, June 21st, we would get almost 17 hours of daylight! Even though the Sun had set we could still see a glow for long time on the horizon. Beautiful!

In the northern reaches of our planet we experience two risings and two settings of our miraculous Sun. The Winter Solstice and the Summer Solstice herald the changeing of the Sun's journey. But that's not the whole story......

On the southern hemisphere of our planet, somewhere like Esquel,Argentina, the same journey is happening. Only in reverse of ours!

Northern Hemisphere     Winter Solstice -December 20/21
                                      Summer Solstice - June 20/21

Southern Hemisphere   Winter  Solstice - June 20/21
                                                      Summer Solstice- December 20/21

To find out how many hours of daylight you have get the time for sunrise and the time for sunset. Now count the hours inbetween,easy!

A wonderful and FREE study is Journey North. Join kids from all over in a world hunt for the mystery class.

Somethings to think about....

How many hours of daylight does.....
 a chicken need to lay eggs?
a crysanthemum need to bloom?
are on the Fourth of July?
a plant need to stay green?

Where would a solar panel work best?
Do the number of daylight hours have anything to do with how hot or cold a place is?
Do the tides change with the solstices?

When you find the answers let me know!

From the Qur'an

Sura 55  Ar - Rahman

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
1. ((Allah)) Most Gracious!
2. It is He Who has taught the Qur'an.
3. He has created man:
4. He has taught him speech (and intelligence).
5. The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed;
6. And the herbs and the trees - both (alike) bow in adoration.
7. And the Firmament has He raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of Justice),
8. In order that ye may not transgress (due) balance.
9. So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance.
10. It is He Who has spread out the earth for (His) creatures:
11. Therein is fruit and date-palms, producing spathes (enclosing dates);
12. Also corn, with (its) leaves and stalk for fodder, and sweet-smelling plants.
13. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
14. He created man from sounding clay like unto pottery,
15. And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke:
16. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
17. (He is) Lord of the two Easts and Lord of the two Wests:
18. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
19. He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together:
20. Between them is a Barrier which they do not transgress:
21. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
22. Out of them come Pearls and Coral:
23. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
24. And His are the Ships sailing smoothly through the seas, lofty as mountains:
25. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
26. All that is on earth will perish:
27. But will abide (for ever) the Face of thy Lord,- full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour.
28. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
29. Of Him seeks (its need) every creature in the heavens and on earth: every day in (new) Splendour doth He (shine)!
30. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
31. Soon shall We settle your affairs, O both ye worlds!     ............


  1. Beautiful. Love it. And thank you for sharing the Qu'uran passages. I'm on the board of a interfaith group called Circles of Peace and I just posted an online "curriculum" that might interest you.
    Please let me know of any additional resources to add to it.

  2. Thanks. Letting people read the Qur'an for themselves is usually enough.


Impressions from friends, thanks.