Hardly – Despite it being a beautiful Song by former Kiwi group, Crowded House.
But have you ever heard of eight seasons in one Year?
Neither had i.
But i had a bit of time to think of some things last week owing to some poor health where i just stayed in bed for a few days and in the course of my thoughts (On Genesis 1) i got stuck in a bit of a side-track.
It was concerning the Equator and what happens to the sun there. Or what appears to happen, rather.
Curious point Number One: – this is the only place on the surface of our planet where the sun ALWAYS sets due West and rises due East – every day, all year ’round!. Anywhere else you live the sun’s rising and setting position appears to ‘move’ between North and South of the line that is due East and West from where you are standing throughout a typical year.
Curious Point Number Two: this is the only point on the surface of the planet where the time between sunrise and sunset is always the same – 12 hours.
Those in the Northern hemisphere are used to varying differences in the length of their days as Summer comes and goes back into Winter, while we in the Southern Hemisphere notice exactly the same thing but with our seasons always 6 months out of sequence with yours. Our Summer is when you have Winter and vice versa.
But no two days are the same ‘length’ in succession – they either get longer or shorter… but not at the equator – daylight in Winter lasts as long as a day in Summer!
Now here’s the truly Weird part, Curious Point Number Three!: if you live on the Equator you have TWO ‘Summers’ a year! AND Two Winters. Not only that but your Summer’s happen when everyone else in the world are having their Spring or Autumn and the ‘Winters’ are actually in the two hemisphere’s Summers- and six month’s apart! Sound Crazy? Well, frankly yes, but it is also true.
How can that be you ask? There are clearly only four seasons in one year – everyone ‘knows’ that – Right?
If we define the seasons by the location of the Sun in the sky then at the Equator ‘Normal’ rules no longer apply.
To most of us who live on this planet, Summer is defined as the season when the Sun reaches it’s highest point in the sky at midday (barring daylight ‘savings’ systems) and our days are their longest and hottest, while Winter is just the opposite; the sun ‘rises’ to it’s lowest point at midday and the daylight hours are their shortest and the days the coldest. These are known as midsummer and midwinter’s days and occur during the ‘Solstices’.
Because of the ’tilting’ of the Earth’s axis of rotation, the two hemisphere’s have ‘opposing’ Summer and Winter solstices on the same day of each year – around June 21 and Dec 21.
Yet on these days (ie. two times ever year) the Equator has the sun at it’s LOWEST point (ie Winter) and the sun moves between these twice a year to it’s Highest point (which is also at exactly 90 degrees to the ground) at midday on the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, which makes those two days equivalent to the Equatorial ‘Summer’! The difference is one ‘Winter’ the Sun ‘rises’ to it’s lowest point at Midday in the South and on the other rises to it’s lowest point in the North!
So at the Equator you can have both a ‘Northern’ AND a ‘Southern Winter’ in the same year!
Since the Equator has Two Summers AND Two ‘Winters’ it also must have two Springs and two Autumns making a total of EIGHT Seasons in one Year.
Beat that Neil Finn. 🙂
(Footnote: not by accident, i fancy, the difference between a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter at the equator is hardly noticeable. As one is very rapidly proceeded by another.)