Thursday, December 21, 2006

The reason for the season

Up here on the Northern Hemisphere, this is the longest night of the year. It's time to reflect on the reason why celebrate and have festivals at all during these cold months. From Ramadan, Hanukkah, Solstice, Yule, Christmas, etc. we get together with friends and families, tell stories about the previous year and make plans for the coming year. What seeds will we plant in our lives, and what will we do differently this year than last year? What other lessons have we learned from mistakes we have made, and what went well that we may wish to repeat?

The 23° 27’ tilt of the earth creates this phenomenon, and the plants & animals have evolved to take advantage of it and thrive. The solstice is the point where the sun is at the far point north or south of the equator. In our hemisphere, the winter solstice is where the sun is as far away from us as it gets.

Why is the earth tilted? When our third generation sun ignited 4.57 Billion years ago from the collapse of the gas cloud, and the solar wind drove the smaller dust away, the planets had already mostly formed from the material they had collected. The inner planets like ours collected mostly heavier metals and minerals because the lower density gases couldn't stay in the center of that disc because it got too hot too fast. The outer planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune collected most of the material they could before ignition. Much of it likely disappeared into Interstellar Space, but there should be quite a bit hovering at the outskirts of our system.

The formation of the Earth was a process of getting slammed again and again and again with meteors and asteroids of all sizes. The last truely major punch was when Theia and proto-Earth came together, forming the Earth and the Moon. I personally believe that this was the point that the current tilt of the Earth's axis came from. So, by this hypothesis, we can thank Moon for the Solstice.

Thanks, Luna! And Happy Birthday, Sol!

Time to go out to dinner with my wife and enjoy a good meal with a good glass of wine. That's what life is all about. Or something...

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