There’s a admirable comedic quiz appearance in the UK alleged “QI” — for “Quite Interesting” — which is hosted by none added than Stephen Fry. The participants are comedians, and they’re asked questions alignment over aloof about every affair you can imagine. The BBC afresh uploaded a blow about which active BA Bloggee Brett Warburton a me. In it, Fry shows the contestants a video of the Sun setting, and asks them to arena in back they anticipate the Sun has absolutely set. Here’s the clip:
This is, in fact, correct! The Earth’s air aeroemism the angel of the Sun upward, so we can still see the Sun alike admitting it is physically beneath the horizon. If we didn’t accept air, daytime would be shorter. In fact, this aftereffect works for aurora as well, so we see the Sun acceleration afore it’s physically austere the horizon.
And Stephen was actual in the bulk too; the ablaze is angled advancement by aloof about the aforementioned admeasurement as the Sun, so back the lower limb of the Sun aloof kisses the border it’s absolutely already set.
But it’s a bit added complicated, of course. The bulk of angle changes as the Sun dips lower, because we’re seeing through added air the afterpiece to the border we look. I’ve accounting about this before. In fact, I begin a nice blueprint from NOAA assuming the bulk of bending:
The bulk a ray of ablaze is angled is apparent on the vertical axis, and the ambit from the border on the horizontal. The units are degrees, with 360° in a circle, of course, and the Sun’s admeasurement in the sky is about 0.5°. Reading off the graph, you can see that appropriate on the horizon, a ray of ablaze is angled advancement by about a bisected degree. In fact, the ablaze from the top of the Sun is angled beneath than the ablaze from the bottom, so this finer pushes the basal of the Sun up against the top, squishing it! You’ve apparently apparent endless pictures of the Sun attractive squashed on the border (the Moon, too — I aloof acquaint about that yesterday, in fact!). Well, that’s why.
Now, what the banana was adage about the anchorage in New Zealand didn’t accomplish abundant faculty to me; the Sun gets low to the border everywhere at some point during the day (well, except maybe for the poles during their bounded summer, but they don’t accept catholic anchorage anyway), so audacious reflections are consistently a problem.
I am endlessly absorbed by phenomena like this in the sky, and I’m admiring that “QI” was able to explain it to so abounding people. Alike if one of the comics didn’t like it. But there you go: the Universe is beneath no obligation to accomplish us like it. It does what it does, and you ability as able-bodied adore it back you can.
Image credits: NOAA; NASA
– The Moon is flat!– The twice-reflected Moon– The Moon, waxing poetic– Forget the Green Lantern: here’s the Green Flash
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