Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solar fest in Delhi on longest day of the year

So what does it mean to you, this solstice? The fabric of time levels out human angst and our titling of earth systems by unending consumption? Probably.

New Delhi: With scores of students and others in attendance, Delhi Tuesday celebrated the longest day of the year, called the summer solstice, with a skit and public outreach programme.

SPACE, an NGO, organised a skit performance with school and college students explaining what a solstice is and how solar eclipses occur.

"More than 250 people came today (Tuesday) at Jantar Mantar where we had a public outreach programme and then a skit was performed. A pin-hole projector was also set up to demonstrate how to view the sun through it during an eclipse without causing damage to the eyes," a member of SPACE said.

"The functioning of the various astronomical devices at Jantar Mantar was also explained to the gathering by our representatives in the solar fest," he added.

Explaining what the summer solstice means, a SPACE statement said: "At the June solstice, the earth is positioned in its orbit so that the north pole is leaning 23 and a half degrees toward the sun."

As seen from the earth, the sun is directly overhead at noon, 23 and a half degrees north of the equator, at an imaginary line encircling the globe, known as the Tropic of Cancer. The sun's rays are directly overhead along the Tropic of Cancer (the latitude line at 23.5 degrees north, passing through Mexico, Saharan Africa, and India), it said.

"This is as far north as the sun ever gets. This results in the longest day of the year. For example in New Delhi, sunrise on summer solstice day in 2011 will be at 5:24 a.m. and sunset will be at 7:22 p.m., making it a day which is almost of 14 hours' duration," the statement said.

While this marks the height of summer in the northern hemisphere, it simultaneously marks the height of winter in the southern hemisphere.


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