Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Longest Day: the Summer Solstice and a Year-Long Photo Shoot

Sunrise on the Vernal Equinox this March. Hopefully, a Solstice (or close to it) picture will be coming soon!

Today, the Northern half of the Earth will be treated to the longest day of the year: the Summer Solstice. For astronomers (except the solar or radio variety), this also marks the shortest night of the year and for photographers, it is leg 2 of a year-long photo shoot.

Okay, explain?
Besides rising and setting, the Sun also moves horizontally at its point of rise throughout the year. On the Equinoxes, the Sun rises/sets exactly due East/West. On the Summer Solstice, our nearest star is well into the Northern sky. On the Winter Solstice, the opposite is true in that the Sun finds itself very obviously in the South. So, for anyone into astronomy or just curiosities of the natural world, these 3 days (Summer Solstice, an equinox, and Winter Solstice) present a cool opportunity for a year-long photo shoot.

Okay, how to do this?

Simply go out at sunrise/set, take the camera, and snap a picture just before the solar disk starts to disappear into the horizon. Cloudy tonight? Don't worry. As the Sun is standing still, it will be rising/setting at virtually the same spot for about a week, so don't fret if it's cloudy on the solstice (like it is for me in wonderful Northeast Ohio!). Repeat the dawn/dusk shoot from the same location for the Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice to gain a full picture of solar motion.

For someone really dedicated, go out around the 20th of each month for a year.

Good shooting!

Humble requests:

If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), help me pay my bills and check out my Examiner pages for space news, cleveland photography, national photography, and astronomy for more great stuff.

If you think this was cool, why not tell a friend?

For something even better, follow this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment