News from the Equinox

21 09 2011

Yesterday was the Equinox.  The length of the day and night are equal, and only on the Equinox does the sun rise in the East and set in the West.  Virtually nobody knows this!  From here on, until the next Equinox on March 21, the sun will not shine in our house, bar for the last couple of hours of the day when it skims the South facing windows that are not under the back veranda.  The accuracy with which I have managed to achieve this never ceases to bring a smile to my face, so I thought I would share with you a photo I took inside the kitchen on the 20th of September, the last day any sun comes through our clerestory windows.  That thin sliver of sunlight on the wall is it.  From today, the sun angle is too steep to fit between the eave on the window and the window sill.  We don’t need any more heating, the season is changing and even if it’s 13°C outside, it’s 22ºC inside in the morning, without the AGA running.  We’ve now had a whole week of continuous sunshine, and our water is boiling hot, and the last thing I need right now is to waste precious firewood to create excess hot water.  I used water straight out the hot tap yesterday to make a new batch of beer, didn’t need to burn any gas to sterilise anything.  You DO have to be careful though, you can easily scald yourself when not using a tempering valve, but we are all well trained here….

I’ve been asked how well our new LED lights work, so I took a night photo of the kitchen to share.  Yes, there is flash added here, but really only to reduce contrast, and obviously the lights don’t light up what’s under the table but otherwise it gives you a pretty good idea of how well this works.  The hanging “chinaman’s hat” fittings are great because they reduce the distance the light has to travel, and it’s right above the three working spaces we have, the sink, the stoves, and the table.

I’m very proud of my kitchen, it’s everything I’ve always wanted now the AGA’s going!


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6 responses

4 01 2012
Mark

At the equinox the length out day and night is not equal- at least not on most of the earth. At the poles you have either permanent daylight or dark for 24hours a day at the equinox.

The Sun only rises dead east on the tropic as well. The equinox does mark the longest/shortest day of the year however (everywhere).

4 01 2012
mikestasse

Sorry, but you are wrong…. On the Equinox, the sun rises dead East and sets dead West all over the world. I know this is so because I have observed it using my house as a sundial and looking straight down either of the long wall towards the horizon!

At the poles, things get a bit weird because if it’s the S Pole, ALL directions are North anyway, and of course the opposite at the N Pole…… I can’t help wondering if, coming out of Winter, the Sun doesn’t rise at Mid Day to stay up permanently 24/7 until the the next equinox when it goes down at Mid Day to stay down 24/7 until it all starts again….

Wikipedia has this to say:

“Although the word equinox is often understood to mean “equal [day and] night”, this is not strictly true. For most locations on earth, there are two distinct identifiable days per year when the length of day and night are closest to being equal; those days are referred to as the “equiluxes” to distinguish them from the equinoxes. Equinoxes are points in time, but equiluxes are days. By convention, equiluxes are the days where sunrise and sunset are closest to being exactly 12 hours apart.”

The [in]accuracy of all this is due to the fact that the Earth doesn’t stop moving on that day to make it happen exactly… but it could be construed as splitting hairs IMO!

AND http://www.classicalastronomy.com/news/anmviewer.asp?a=17&z=15 states:

“On the equinox, daytime and nighttime are equally 12 hours for nearly every location in the world. But at the North and South Poles the Sun would be seen circling the horizon on the equinoxes, at the “sunrise” or “sunset” of the long polar “day.”

The View From The Poles
The North Pole and South Pole are very special places in the world, since they are at the extreme limits of the compass points. At the Poles, there is no such thing as “direction” as we understand the term. Once someone arrives at the North Pole, there is no “east” or “west.” Every direction leads away from the north, which is to say every direction is south! If you could have a house at the North Pole, every window on every side of the house would have a southern exposure! And as the Earth rotates, the entire world would spin underneath your house!”

I personally find all this stuff fascinating…. thanks for visiting the blog.

10 04 2012
Gwen

How did you control this? Is it the degree of angle of the house towards true north, the eaves, or both?

A very simple 2 – 3 sentance explanation would probably be highly appreciated by readers who stop in.

10 04 2012
mikestasse

Hi Gwen, yes it is both. The house is on an EXAT E-W axis. How deep you make your eaves is entirely determined by your latitude and how long/short your winter is. So strictly speaking, as you head closer to the tropics, you end up not wanting the sun to ever shine into your house, whereas somewhere lkike Tassie, you may well want to have solar ingress for 9 months of the year.

Hope that helps>

Mike

19 05 2012
Margaret Krupinski, Port Sorell, Tasmania

Yes Mike – re your last comment -when you come to Tassie, that’s why you musn’t have a verandah on the North side. Our new north-facing extension on the north coast (Port Sorell) only has standard eaves, and it’s been just perfect. In December, the sun may come in a foot or so, but the weather here isn’t too hot at that time.
I enjoy your posts on ROEOZ and on ChrisMartenson and feel fortunate that I’ve now discovered your blog. You are obviously a very clever man and I just wonder where you get the time to do all the work on your property and write so much on the Internet. At least, I’m certain of one thing – that you don’t spend your evenings watching “The Block” , “Australia’s Got Talent’, “Dancing with the Stars” or any of those cooking shows !!!
– Marg from Tassie
19/5/2012

19 05 2012
mikestasse

Hello Margaret, thanks for the kind words….

I was actually intending to make the N veranda from Alsenite, a clear roofing material, mostly as a weatherproof outdoor area. I did this here, with the addition of movable slats underneath which we close in summer for full shade. In winter, it’s just a small job to angle them to suit the sun angle. From what you say, we won’t need to do that in Tassie!

Now the property is “established”, it’s mostly maintenance free. Weeds do get out of control in the tropical summer, and I tend to give up on them and concentrate on mowing, which I have to do twice a week when it’s so hot and wet. The grass on the spare block next to us can go from slashed to six feet tall in just four weeks or so! On a clear night you can hear it grow! Over half of our grass is controlled by the goats, the rest is mulched or shaded by our fruit trees.

As a keen cook, I hate to tell you, I do watch those cooking shows…. I’ve even learned quite a few tricks from them, and am now an expert “eggs Benedict” maker, entirely from watching Master Chef and that crazy Heston fella….

Because I get up very early, I often fall asleep in front of the telly….. or maybe I’m just turning into an old fart!

You may have seen by now that I’ve bought a ute….. it’s the vehicle I will drive to Tassie with all our “essentials” once all the dominoes fall into place for us to move…

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