Amazon Deals

New at Amazon

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summer solstice science, quotes, poetry and music

Whatever is dreamed on this night, will come to pass...

Walking around the grocery store on a hot day always reminds me of this Shakespeare quote:
For men, like butterflies, show not their mealy wings but to the summer.
~ Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida Act III, Scene 3

Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound;
And through this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose.

ShakespeareA Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Sc. 2

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different.

~ John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.

~ Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

~ Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

Thou orb aloft full dazzling,
    Flooding with sheeny light the gray beach sand;
Thou sibilant near sea, with vistas far, and foam,
    And tawny streaks and shades, and spreading blue;
Before I sing the rest, O sun refulgent,
    My special word to thee.

~ Walt Whitman, A Summer Invocation

Shine on, O moon of summer.
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,
All silver under your rain to-night.

Carl Sandburg, Back Yard

This year's summer solstice (wiki) will occur on June 20, 2016 at 6:34 PM EDT. At the summer solstice (from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop)), the Earth reaches the  point in its orbit where the northern hemisphere is most tilted toward the sun, which puts the latter higher in the sky at noon than at any other time of the  year.*  This is also the day of the year with the longest daylight period and the shortest night.  In prehistoric times, the summer solstice was of great importance to aboriginal peoples.  The snow had disappeared, food was easier to find, and crops already planted would soon be harvested in months to come. From then on, however, the days would begin to shorten, indicating the inevitable return of the cold season. 

This year, in addition to the solstice there's a full moon hitting its peak on the same day. This hasn’t happened in 70 years. You can watch a live broadcast of the summer solstice/full moon broadcast from the observatory at the Institute of Astrophysics in the Canary Islands:

Here's a brief explanation on the mechanics of solstices and equinoxes:

The two revolutions, I mean the annual revolutions of the declination and of the centre of the Earth, are not completely equal; that is the return of the declination to its original value is slightly ahead of the period of the centre. Hence it necessarily follows that the equinoxes and solstices seem to anticipate their timing, not because the sphere of the fixed stars moves to the east, but rather the equatorial circle moves to the west, being at an angle to the plane of the ecliptic in proportion to the declination of the axis of the terrestrial globe.

Here's Nigel Kennedy playing the last movement of Vivaldi's "Summer" concerto from The Four Seasons:

No comments:

Post a Comment