Summer solstice sunrise and more. . .

About 1 am EDT the Sun – our favorite star – was at it’s most northern point, so I trotted out to Gooseberry this morning and got this shot about 5:12 am from the parking lot overlooking the boat ramp. Note where the sun is rising, then look at the next shot which was taken at the Fall Equinox when the Sun was rising due east!

Summer solstice sunrise - June 21, 2013.

Summer solstice sunrise – June 21, 2013.

(Click image to enlarge.)

(Click image to enlarge.)

Fa;; equinox.  (Click image to enlarge.)

So – looking down the boat ramp is due east, as you can see in the second photo – the sun this morning rose at azimuth 57 degrees – very much north of east.  I find it fun to make our own sort of Stonehenge type observatory by going to our favorite location and noting where the sun rises at the Summer and Winter solstices, and at the Equinoxes. You can do that for your own favorite spot by going out tomorrow morning – the location  of the Sun will not have changed enough for you to tell the difference with the naked eye – or, of course, by observing sunset – more convenient for most people.

One thing I really enjoy is watching  the sunset and the Moon rise about at the same time. That will be especially fun tomorrow night when the almost full Moon rises about 7:32 pm EDT   in the southeast at Gooseberry and the Sun sets opposite it in the northwest about 50 minutes later – 8:22.  Hmmm . . . maybe this will be better to observe on Sunday night (June 23, 2013)  – the Sun sets about 8:22 EDT and the Moon rises just a few minutes later. It will be just a tad past full then – but the point is, being able to see both from a location such as Gooseberry can give you a real sense of the rotation of the Earth – the moon doesn’t “rise” and the Sun doesn’t “set” – we’re just on a merry-go-round where as one goes out of view, the other comes into view.

Oh – and  as I noted in this month’s “events” post on my astronomy blog, this is the largest full moon of the year, but don’t get too excited by that.

On the night of June 22-23 we have a full Moon – the largest full Moon of the year.

Why is this larger than other full Moons? Because it is closer to us at this particular full Moon. How much larger is it? Significantly – but not so much that you really can tell the difference. To do that you need to see a larger full moon next to a small full Moon – and you can do that by going to this web site which gives a wonderfully detailed explanation.

Meanwhile, just sit back and enjoy it – and don’t confuse this with the Moon illusion phenomena – that is simply our eyes and brain playing tricks on us to make the Moon (or the Sun) look much larger when it is near the horizon, than when it is high in the sky.

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