Okay, so this posts won’t involve too much written material to slog through, (I’ll try and keep it short anyway) but I wanted to share a bit about something which occurred to me about a week ago, when I was out walking in the Nevada sun…
We woke up to find we had a dead car battery, so in the morning I walked the mile or so to the auto parts store where they started charging it for us. Several hours later, I had to walk back to the store to pick it up. As I was walking back, noticing the stark difference in how much more unpleasant the walk had become on the second trip, vs. my jaunt earlier in the day, it dawned on me… “Of course! It’s so ridiculously obvious… EVERYONE knows that the hottest part of the day, is the middle of the day.” (apparently this has the technical name of “solar noon”…)
Ok, but so what? The Earth is spinning, so we are taught, and this is what makes the sun appear to move across the sky, and why the hottest time is in the middle of the day, because it’s when our little point on the globe is closest to the heat source, i.e., the sun…. Simple right?
It’s funny, how when you start intentionally looking for charts, illustrations etc., for these kinds of things, what you can easily find, and what you can’t. You will almost NEVER find a chart or diagram showing the Sun and Earth to scale, and I really believe that this is because if we could, a lot of things would really start jumping out at us pretty quickly!
Now, they say that the Sun is in fact somewhere around 93 MILLION miles away from the Earth. We are also told that the radius of the Globe Earth is a little under 4,000 miles, which would mean that from the time your part of the world crosses over the “shadow line”, going from night to day (i.e. “dawn”) the largest change in distance between the Earth and the sun possible would be 4,000 miles. So that’s four thousand, in relation to a total distance of ninety-three MILLION…. Hmmm, what percentage of a change does that ultimately amount to…?
Yes, the title gave it away… A whopping 0.0086% change. That’s how much closer you could possibly get, from sunrise to solar noon. Less than 9 “one-thousandths” of one percent difference.
And yet, as we all know, when stepping out into the direct rays of the sun, just as it has completed rising in the morning, versus stepping out into the direct sun in the middle of the day, there seems to be a rather SIGNIFICANT difference, no? A bit more than 0.0086%…?
Ah… But they might answer by saying that this is because the atmosphere and ground are slowly heating up. That’s why the temperature increases. And yes, I thought about this. But then, it also occurred to me that the temperature and solar intensity ALSO decreases after solar noon, so that the heat from the direct sun just before it sets is also significantly less that the middle of the day, and much more so than a tiny fraction of one percent…
So I started digging around for more empirical, measured data which speaks to this question. Interestingly enough, you can’t find hardly anything actually showing the hourly levels of solar radiation in a given day, when perusing astronomically-focused sources. The only places which seem to even get into it at all, are the ones concerned with measuring daily solar radiation levels as it pertains to the issue of solar panels and solar energy. As would be expected, these arenas are very much familiar with what parts of the day, and where on the planet, you experience the most intense levels of solar radiation. And here is what you inevitably see, charts with “bell curves”, showing an unmistakable mid-day peak, just as our own temperature-sensitive experience would indicate:
If the sun was truly a million miles across, and 93 million miles away, and the temperature increase from morning to midday was because the earth was continually heating due to sun exposure, then it should CONTINUE heating up, all throughout the day, until the sun went down. I mean, can we really wrap our heads around how truly SMALL 0.0086% is?? That’s a VERY small decrease in alleged distance, from solar noon to dusk, and yet, look at all those charts. See how the bell curve drops down, almost the perfect inverse rate of increase in the morning? (almost as if the sun was small, and moving AWAY from where you were standing, after it moved TOWARDS you in the morning…) 😉 Even if it could be argued that the minuscule increase in distance from solar noon to dusk might account for some degree of a drop, it certainly could not be maintained that it should show such a drastic one, mirroring the increase from the first half of the day.
And the thing is, the bell curve doesn’t just apply to solar radiation levels (i.e. intensity of heat), but of course to luminescence as well. In the video below, it shows time-lapse footage of sunsets, where you can clearly see the illumination of the entire sky getting dimmer and darker, BEFORE the sun starts touching the horizon line. Again, would that make sense, with only a 0.0086% change in distance? Would the difference in angle through the atmosphere, alone be enough to explain this?