Moonish

Full moon through a dirty window. It’s blueish hue reminds me of those old songs, moon spoon, June, tunes of the past.

A glowing cold ball in the sky. Full now, but no longer linked to lunatics and howling wolves. Perhaps the fluorescent glow from sodium lights has drowned out its flooding influence.

But the tides still turn under its gravity, pulled upwards, the sea rises with the moon above it, while on the opposite side of the Earth the sea is held less firmly and slacken into another bulge. That is why there are two high tides and low tides a day.

And the Moon is tidally locked with Earth, so one side always faces us now. The Moon may be the result of a cataclysmic impact when a small planet struck Earth a glancing blow and lifted matter from Earth into the sky. The matter from the collision coalesced into the Moon and its orbit around Earth began. Now it is gradually moving away, a few centimeters a year. As it orbits Earth it is gradually slowing our spin. We used to make one rotation of the planet in around Twenty three hours. Now we have slowed to twenty four.

Moon. So much to learn.

Allotment blues

Cold allotments, hard earth, dormant plants, frozen in time. Sheds and greenhouses closed up, with spiders and butterflies waiting patiently for new warmth.

Bare branches holding new life inside. Till sun and heat restore them. Sharp angled fence may be covered in blossom one day. Overall a freezing sky, cloudless, caps the earth with the universe. Infinite and awesome, while we here are held on our bubble world. Sliding through space on our journey around the sun.

Sunlight

Sunlight streaming through the window Shines on Christmas cards and books, ornaments my sewing kit. As the sun rises it also travels south in the sky in winter. Then in the afternoon it appears to move downwards and West. So because of the way the earth is tipped on its axis the position on the sky moves in arcs that tip further south in the winter and further north in summer. So the sun appears overhead eventually.

If the Earth was rotating on a vertical axis at 90° to the plane of the solar system, then day length would stay the same all over the world. 12 hours day and 12 hours night. There would be no seasons. There would probably be no poles as all parts of the earth would receive the same amount of heat from the sun.

Instead the tip of the axis means that the day length changes over the years. So at the solstices the earth has turned to have its poles either closest or furthest apart from the sun. It’s also complicated by the earth travelling in an elliptical orbit round the sun. In the summer in the North of the world the sun is actually slightly further away from the earth than in the winter.

Anyway enough of celestial mechanics. Don’t get me started on the moon! Happy Boxing day. X

Sunny for a while

Light at this time of year is always low. Striking across the ground rather than high above it. This is because the Earths Northern hemisphere tips away from the Sun. So much so that the North Pole dips into darkness in the winter months. Shadows are long now and when you do get into sunshine the light can be blinding from the Sun on the horizon. You can look for images of the suns track across the sky at different times of the year. It basically arcs round from East to West but tipped at an angle dipping more South as winter progresses, then from the winter solstice around the 21st of December, it starts to slowly work its way back up the sky until its almost overhead on Midsummer day at midday, then the cycle starts all over again.

Reflected

Water is life, falling on the ground, percolating into it, into the cracks between the pavement. Water finds its way through layers of rock and can appear thousands of years later in a spring. Water covers two thirds of the world in oceans and seas. But it is only a thin coat. Most of the world is molten or an iron core, with a mantle of rock floating above. Volcanos erupt around the world, Hawaii is a chain of volcanic islands erupting like a chain of bubbles in the Pacific ocean.

Are there other ‘water worlds’? Maybe Europa, a moon of Jupiter, which is covered in ice, could have oceans of water under its frozen crust.

You know its coming…

In the northern hemisphere at least. We’ve hit the equinox, when the day and night lengths are the same. Cold, arrives, now. Unless we get some late summer heat. There’s been hailstorm in the North East of England and heavy rain in Scotland. Across the Northern hemisphere there have been hurricanes in North America and Typhoons in Asia.

The other side of the world is experiencing Spring. The South is getting warmer as the Earth starts to tip its south Pole towards the sun. The tilt of the Earth means that we have seasons. If the world was at 90° day and night would be equal across the whole world. 12 hours of light, 12 hours of dark. No glorious late evenings in summer or long dark nights in winter. What an interesting world we live on.

And it’s not flat!

Distances

I like knowing things, so I thought I would look u some measurements.

The shortest distance on earth I could find was the thinnest section of the crust of the Earth which is only under the deep oceans and is mainly made up of iron bearing rock. That is about 5km.

But the thickness of the Earth’s crust varies between 5km and 70km, so the average would be about 35 kilometers. To give you an idea of how far that is, it’s approximately the same as Dover to Calais, which is 33.3km.

The distance from the Earth’s surface to space is 100 kilometers. Or three times the distance from Dover to Calais.

Going up in size, the distance from the Earth’s surface to the centre of the Earth is 6,371km. Which is 63 times the distance to space.

Now we go a bit further. The escape velocity from Earth is 11.19 kilometers per second. That is the slowest speed something would have to move to fly up into space and leave Earth’s gravity for good. The more massive the object, the more effort it would take to leave the gravity well of an object. So a gas giant planet is huge compared with the Earth but is less dense on average. I don’t know the figures. I didn’t look them up, but I read that if we were as big as Saturn it could gloat on our sea?

Going further out, the Moon, which is the furthest human beings have travelled to after reaching escape velocity is 384,400km away.

If you want to travel to the Sun the distance is 150,800,000 kilometers….

But man-made objects have gone further. We have sent probes into the vastness of space. Voyager Two has left the Solar system and is currently about 18,603,199,501 kilometers away. In distance at the speed of light that’s 17 hrs 14 minutes and 13.5 seconds (approximately) as of yesterday.

Of ccourse that’s nothing compared with the nearest star to our Sun. Which is about 4 light years away from the Solar system. And then… Space is infinite…

Life gets everywhere

Even iin the cracks of windowledges or steps. This was growing at Spode last year. Not pretty, but green, seed heads developing, waiting to be dandelion clocks.

Next year there might be ten new plants, then a hundred the year after. Not exponential, but a creaping greening. A creating of new life, roots diving deep, breaking up the earth. If only we could embrace nature more? Not kill it but give it a helping hand. We know its wrong to harm the planet. Why do we persist.