Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Earth's Tilt

I have been thinking about our planet's rotation today.

The sunlight has been shining through the slats in my window blinds this morning. The shadows from the slats create a striped pattern across my computer screen, desk, and wall. This didn't happen in the summer because the sun was so much higher in the sky.

But was the sun really "higher in the sky?" No. It's so fascinating how we often associate with things relative to ourselves. We think of ourselves as the center of the universe while everything moves around us. We think that the sun is actually moving in the sky. We think of how the sun is actually higher in the summer and lower in the winter. That's just the way it is in the Northern Hemisphere, right?

So often I forget about the fact that the earth is rotating around the sun. The sun isn't moving. We swing around this big ball of heat and light once every Earth-year, but all we think about is, "wow... the days are longer... the days are shorter... the sun is high in the sky... the sun is low today... bla bla"

I find a much better appreciation for the things around me when I understand what is happening from a bigger perspective. For example, today, I am amazed by the fact that the sunshine is streaming through the slats in my blinds. Not just because the sun is "lower" than days in the past, but because I know that I am a tiny speck on a huge rock floating in space around a huge star somewhere in a gigantic universe. And thanks to scientists and their discoveries, I can visualize it in my mind. So cool.

How much more would we appreciate life if we see it from a bigger perspective?

Diagram from howstuffworks.com