Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Length of a Shadow

As the saga continues about the earth's (tilted) path around the sun, here's another comparison for you southerners.

I was walking out of my office yesterday and was pleased, not only to see the sun - but to see the sun shining above the buildings!  I could see the very long shadows that occur in the northern part of our northern hemisphere.  I ran into the science building to borrow a meter stick - door-to-door, but no luck.  I found Tuula's door open and in my excited state ran in to see if she could help.  She was meeting with a student and didn't have a meter stick in her office so she directed me to her cross-country ski pole, right there, leaning against her cabinet.

I ran outside and tried to stick the ski pole in the ice.  No luck. Then I tried again.  Nope! Then slowly, again.  And it stuck.  Barely.

It was beautiful to see the shadow so LONG!  With my camera dangling from my neck I laid the other ski pole end to end to end and found the ski pole was making a shadow eight times its height!  I was overjoyed! (I was nearly jumping up and down in that parking lot.)

Even though I don't know the height of the ski pole, you get the idea.  Yeah, baby.  The sun is THAT low in the sky.

The amazing Dennis Grice was again the wonderful friend and made this set up at St. John's Lutheran School in Orange, CA. so we could make a comparison.  Thank you, Dennis!

On the way home today around 3:30, it was  -7 degrees F/-21 degrees C and the beauty of the lake called to me again. I saw the sun low in the sky and I couldn't resist spending some time experiencing the beauty of the day.  This shadow is a lot  longer than it was at noon time yesterday - what's your guess?  I don't know,  25-30 meters long?  I have no idea -  I didn't stay and check because I wanted to get inside and get warm!


  1. This was SO fun! Using your measurement and mine and this handy web site ( so I didn't have to break out my trig tables, here are the results.
    Angle of the sun at Noon on Jan 14-15.
    Joensuu, Finland: 7.13 degrees
    Orange, California, USA: 35.73 degrees

  2. Thanks a million for you, Janet for this blog, and specifically of the pictures!
    I am sharing this for all my friends and colleagues, to show how Finland really is.

    1. Thank you, Tuija. Finland is more lovely than I could ever have imagined.

  3. Dennis, I love that you looked that up!