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Chapter 1

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Natural Science
NATS 1745
Robin Metcalfe

Chapter 1 1. What celestial event is Newgrange aligned to? Describe what happens at Newgrange on this day. Newgrange's roofbox is aligned to the winter solstice sunrise . On the 21 of December at sunrise, the hallway fills with a beam of light and is likely to reflect a belief in rebirth or reincarnation. 2. Describe what happens to the Sundagger on the solstices and equinoxes. At noon on the solstice and equinoxes, the sundagger exhibits 2 beams of sunlight, which either bisect or frame the spirals depending on the equinox/ solstice 3. What celestial event is Stonehenge aligned to? Describe what happens at Stonehenge on this day. Stonehedge’s heel stone is aligned with the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the heel stone perfectly, (due to the precision of the equinoxes 4. Why do archeoastronomers suspect that Stonehenge's Heel Stone had a missing partner stone? When stonehedge was built the sun rose beside the heel stone, making us believe that there were originally 2 heel stones to frame the sun 5. What causes the Sun to rise and set every day? Due to Earth's 24-hour eastward-spin around its polar axis, the sun moves westward across the sky, it rises in the east, reaches its highest point at noon, then sets in the west 6. What is the local time for an observer who is directly facing the opposite side of the sky from Sun? What is the local time when the Sun is at its highest point in the sky? What is the local time when the Sun is seen on the Eastern horizon? What is the local time when the Sun is seen on the Western horizon? - Local midnight - Local noon for sun to be highest point - Local sun rise - Local sunset 7. What is the azimuth of the noon Sun in the northern hemisphere? How about the southern hemisphere? AZ in Northern = South AZ in Southern = North 8. What does the word "solstice" mean? How does it describe what happens to the Sun's rising and setting positions on the solstices? - The word solstice means - solar standstill - The sun rising or setting position (the stop of that shift) - Identifies the sun’s rising and setting positions on its northernmost and southernmost positions. 9. What is the azimuth of sunrise and sunset on the Northern winter solstice? How about the Northern summer solstice? How about the equinoxes? Azimuth – direction along the horizon, - Winter time - sun is mostly south, the winter solstice has to be SE for sunrise and SW for the set - Summer solstice (longer path), rising NE, setting NW - Equinoxes (equal rise and setting) – rising E, setting W 10. Describe how the Thirteen Towers of Chankillo, Peru were used to track the time of year. Given that this site is in the southern hemisphere, what is the approximate azimuth (NE, SE, NW, SW) of the winter solstice marker? How about the summer solstice marker? Southern hemisphere -Summer, rise SE, set SW - Winter, rise NE, set NW -13 tower s-the sun shifts through the notches and each interval between the towers mark a month - If you want to see sunrise you would have to cross to the E side of the hill 11. Which day is the longest day of the year, and why? Which day is the shortest day of the year, and why? What are the lengths of daytime and nighttime on the equinoxes? - Summer Solstice (June 22): Sun rises and sets at its northernmost position, traversing a long high arc (longest day, highest noon sun) - Winter solstice (December 22): Sun rises and sets at its southernmost position, traversing a short, low arc in the sky (shortest day of the year and lowest noon sun). - Fall and Spring Equinox (Sept 23) (fall equinox) and (spring equinox) March 21): Sun rises due E and sets due W, spending equal time above and below the horizon (equal day and night) 12. What causes the seasons? Describe the orientation of the Earth relative to the Sun during Northern summer. What season does the Southern hemisphere e
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