Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Contemplating the Mechanics of the Heavens While at Anchor in Sunset Cove...
While confined to my boat and wishing that I were elsewhere during a recent front that blew on through, I had little to do but sip on a bottle of Merlot and contemplate the heavens late at night.
Periodically I'd climb up on that bouncing deck to check up on my anchor rodes and make sure that my anchors weren't dragging. But while up on deck, I'd invariably pause a few moments to gaze up at the millions of stars. More specifically I'd seek out the North Star for whatever reason.
Locating the North Star is relatively easy on a clear night... simply line up the two outer stars that make up the outside edge of the Big Dipper and draw an imaginary line from it. It will point up to the North Star.
However after noting the position of the Big Dipper in relation to the North Star throughout the night, I concluded that the earth has a counter-clockwise spin to it. Not only that but it clearly dawned on me why sunset is but an illusion.
The sun obviously doesn't set of course because we all know that it is stationary in relationship to the earth. The sunset illusion is simply the curvature of the earth getting in the way of one's sight line to the sun as the earth spins on its axis.
... hhmmm... it occurs to me that I's is purty smartz and with just a few more bottles of Merlot I'll soon have Einstein's elusive Unified Field Theory all figured out.