2011 Winter Solstice or Your House as a Solar Observatory

A simple but great sculpture by Nancy Holt in Utah, celebrating the ancient ceremonies at winter solstice is on my all time favorite website: www.apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap111222.html
I celebrated the Solstice at 8:15 this morning (December 22) in Perrysburg when the sun rose and shone right through the house from its unique Southernmost direction.

The left side photo is taken from the North side of the house looking straight at the sunrise.

The right side photo shows where I am hanging a print of the first photo, in the exact spot on the North wall, illuminated by the sun only on December 21 or 22 (the sun spot is not on the photo because it had moved away by the time I got the iPad stuck to the wall!).

It worked for me  on both first and second floors (see second row of photos). I hope to repeat the measurements for the Summer Solstice and the Equinoxes, but it helps here not having leaves on the trees right now.






(Alice is more interested in Aya’s catnip mouse than astronomy).







(The Black Prince, Pinot is more interested in sitting on the warm radiator).

Here’s a good alignment that occurred a week after the solstice. There are no trees near this line of sight and the spot on the wall is small and relatively precise being a good distance from the window where the sun shines into the house.








I’ll place a photo there and see if it is directly illuminated again same time next year.

I found this 6 month old sunrise photo, taken in July about 4 weeks after the Summer Solstice, looking North-East along the top deck.

It shows the sun is rising about 78 degrees further to the North than right now at the end of December.

The best fun will be at the March and September equinoxes: then I’ll only have to wait 6 months to see if I can get two sunspots to occur in exactly the same spot.

In the Contemporary Art Museum in Chicago a few days ago I found this most timely still life by Windsor, Ontario artist Iain Baxter.

It brought back fond memories of Glenn Osborn’s Photoshopped great collage masterpiece “Homage to DeHeem” which won Best of Show (Area Artists) at the Toledo Art Museum in 2007.

It’s almost two years since Glenn sadly left us, with a great musical wake to remember him by.

Happy Solstice and Holidays to all, with a Photoshopped image of what the Maumee Xmas lights, just over the river, would look like through rainy glass – we have NO SNOW, or ice yet!

Aya Cracks Cadbury Crunchie Code

Happy that Detroit de-ices the plane, no matter how much the delay.

The glass ocean behind the Bill Reid canoe glistens in the winter sunlight at Vancouver:

The trouble with food photos is I eat it as fast as I shoot it. What would BC be without Nanaimo Bars?

And then Aya, with some Baja Vanilla, did even better than my favorite Cadbury’s Crunchie bar:

Sad to leave unskied snow in the distance on Cypress Mountain but friends were waiting in Toledo.

Tess thought the best item in the Ann Arbor Art Museum was the padded bench for artistic posing.

Now the poor bees only get 20 minutes of winter solstice sun on a clear day when a shaft of light slips  between two houses. But if you put your ear to the hive and tap, they do buzz so they are still in there huddling into a ball for warmth.
Sorry the telephoto shots on the Android cell phone are so fuzzy. The macro photos seem fine. Anybody got any clues?

Two December Days in Abu Dhabi

Surprised to see snow already in Kurdistan, and the Tigris river on the flight out from JFK.

Flew over Baghdad and saw the first flares of oil wells at Basra, Iraq.  Over the Arabian Gulf much bigger flares showed that we still want oil so much more than gas that it is not economically viable to bother gathering it.

Abu Dhabi has oil, that buys big buildings, gold, and toys for boys.

The 40 th anniversary of the formation of UAE (United Arab Emirates) was celebrated with a very low level fly-past along the Corniche. Hopefully the You Tube link will play an Android phone video for you:

Down at sea level it is equally dangerous to try to capture images of the incredible high heeled shoes worn by the mysterious ladies loosely draped in black.

But the desert is never far away. This development (including premises for a Sorbonne remote university) is temporarily on hold.

I ran out of easy reading for the long flight home so went to the website market on my Android phone for a book. It offered latest Salm’n Rushd’e and Richa’d Dawki’s works, but when I tried to purchase both them were “Not available”.

Return flight over Tehran, Moscow and Greenland where there is still no sign of life. At that high latitude we outraced the setting sun and it appeared to rise as we flew westward.