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parallaxicality
2008-Feb-28, 11:07 AM
I'm in the middle of writing an article for a journalism course, and I need a way to explain the four motions of the Sun to the lay reader. I thought the best way to illustrate them would be HG Wells's time machine. Wells beautifully describes the motions of the Sun speeding up in his wonderful book, but doesn't go into enough detail. I felt I had to elaborate, but I was unclear on a few issues.

So, as we speed up the time machine, the Sun shoots faster and faster across the sky. Day and night merge into an indigo void, the stars disappear, the moon becomes a blurry grey shadow.

Eventually, as we speed up further, the Sun's daily path becomes a single radiant beam that begins to rock back and forth from solstice to solstice, and, with more speed, itself merges into... what? An eye? A wall? I wasn't sure. Does the Sun rise from the same point every day, or does it shift further south/north during the year?

Also, could the annual passage of the Sun be seen here, or is that only observable through the shifting of the constellations?

Finally, as the Time Traveller's strangely cumbersome day-counter reaches the hundreds of thousands per second, how would procession manifest itself? I like to imagine the blazing eye of the Sun's passage slowly revolving like a great galaxy across the sky, but I wasn't sure.

max8166
2008-Feb-28, 11:22 AM
Get stellarium (http://www.stellarium.org/) and point yourself facing south then speed up the advance of time to see what happens.


(Or North if you live in the southern hemisphere)

parallaxicality
2008-Feb-28, 03:15 PM
Can't download it.

Grey
2008-Mar-04, 03:02 PM
Eventually, as we speed up further, the Sun's daily path becomes a single radiant beam that begins to rock back and forth from solstice to solstice, and, with more speed, itself merges into... what? An eye? A wall? I wasn't sure. Does the Sun rise from the same point every day, or does it shift further south/north during the year?The sun does not rise and set form the same point, it moves north in the winter and south in the summer (that's why ancient monuments like stonehenge can be set up so that the sun rises in line with some marker at only a specific time of year). You can see a diagram on this page (http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/stargaze/Ssky.htm).So you'd get a thicker line. I'll think about the precession issue and what that would do to things.

Jeff Root
2008-Mar-04, 06:33 PM
The sun does not rise and set form the same point, it moves north in
the winter and south in the summer
That answer is correct for the southern hemisphere, but not the
northern hemisphere. Did you say the opposite of what you meant?
I'm sure you correctly understand the geometry.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Grey
2008-Mar-05, 09:22 PM
That answer is correct for the southern hemisphere, but not the
northern hemisphere. Did you say the opposite of what you meant?
I'm sure you correctly understand the geometry.Yes I did say the opposite of what I'd intended. Either that, or I was having flashbacks to my visit to Australia while I was typing... :doh:

astrotech
2008-Mar-06, 07:42 AM
I believe you've got your description for how the sun would look up to the "...ray expanding to a wide band or wall." I imagine that precesion would cause that band to oscilate as if you were looking at it from the rolling deck of ship in a high sea but with reguler oscilations.