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Thread: Anecdotal reports of a shift in the earth's position in relation to sun...

  1. #1 Anecdotal reports of a shift in the earth's position in relation to sun... 
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    I've just been watching a couple of discussions on non-science forums where people I know personally (intelligent, not necessarily scientific) are saying that the sunrises and sunsets are in different positions, i.e. that the Earth's position in relation to the sun has shifted. For example, someone who has lived in a house for ten years and knows how far the sunlight of sunrise and sunset reaches inside the house each season (they keep certain things like paintings out of direct sunlight) said for the first time ever, the sun is touching those paintings in the morning. Someone else noticed that the sunshine from the sunset it hitting across the front of their house for the first time ever - they claim the sun appears to be rising and setting further south than in any other summer. In total, about twelve non-scientific people who live on the land (farmers, horse people) said they've noticed a big difference in the position of the sunrise and sunsets this summer (we're in the southern hemisphere).

    A quick google brings up sites that have no apparent scientific background, some with some delightful Biblical proof that this is actually happening, and I'm sure there will be others that will quote the Mayan predictions *sigh* and there are the usual conspiracy theories about 'world wide gag order on the media preventing the reporting of these anomalies' - sounds like a blockbuster movie plot but reeks of nonsense.

    Can someone please point me to some good scientific sites where these concerns are discussed and proven, beyond doubt, to be incorrect? My friends are also talking of the possibility of a magnetic flip, without quite understanding what it means (one believes that is the cause of the apparent shift in the Earth's position), but I have enough information to help them understand what this may and may not involve. I would just like to be able to tell them to calm down about the sunset/sunrise thing as I sense a case of mass hysteria building.


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    Axial precession (astronomy) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ?


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    No, the precession is too slow to be noticeable. And no, the axis hasn't chaged. This kind of stuff is reported every year when we are near the solstice. Nothing has changed.

    Yawn
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    At 1 per average lifespan, you could argue that some highly perceptive, sedentary, soul would notice something amiss... but I would pick selective memory shenanigans as the primary candidate in all cases.
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    The problem lea is convincing these people they are mistaken. You could try agreeing on where the shadow of a permanent object falls on a particular time and day, then revisit it a year later.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    At 1 per average lifespan, you could argue that some highly perceptive, sedentary, soul would notice something amiss... but I would pick selective memory shenanigans as the primary candidate in all cases.
    Actually, it would be far less than 1%. It's not the precession that matters anyway, it's the obliquity of the earth (axial tilt). The change would be less than 0.01 degrees over a human lifespan. That's ~0.04%
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    A much better explanation of the change in where sunlight falls is the motion of the building in which the sunlight falls. Houses do sink, sometimes more on one side than another.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhysBang View Post
    A much better explanation of the change in where sunlight falls is the motion of the building in which the sunlight falls. Houses do sink, sometimes more on one side than another.
    Good point
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    I ended up just pointing out to the worriers that it's only for a few weeks every 12 months that the sun is this far south... and are they sure they can accurately remember where it was 12 months ago or are they more likely to remember the other 11 months when the sun isn't that far south? If the last summer solstice period was during cloudy days, it could be two years since they'd seen the sunrise and sunset that far south. One of the people who was totally sure that the sun was further south than before is a veterinary surgeon - so someone with a scientific background.

    I will suggest that they record the sunrise and sunset by aligning with two unmoving objects to compare next year, or just mark the sunlight/shadow on a wall so that they can rely on something solid rather than a memory.

    Thank you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lealealea View Post
    I ended up just pointing out to the worriers that it's only for a few weeks every 12 months that the sun is this far south... and are they sure they can accurately remember where it was 12 months ago or are they more likely to remember the other 11 months when the sun isn't that far south? If the last summer solstice period was during cloudy days, it could be two years since they'd seen the sunrise and sunset that far south. One of the people who was totally sure that the sun was further south than before is a veterinary surgeon - so someone with a scientific background.

    I will suggest that they record the sunrise and sunset by aligning with two unmoving objects to compare next year, or just mark the sunlight/shadow on a wall so that they can rely on something solid rather than a memory.

    Thank you.
    Sometimes those who think they are smart are the worst witnesses, such as airline pilots and cops that see meteors and Venus as UFOs, because "they can't be wrong". If you are trying to understand something visual, you have to make an actual effort to understand the geometry of the phenomenon.

    Your suggestion is very good, but I predict they won't follow through They'd rather believe they know better.

    This perspective is based on many years of investigatihng fireball reports.
    Last edited by MeteorWayne; January 22nd, 2012 at 03:21 AM. Reason: to add cops
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    Good point, MeteorWayne - so many would prefer to believe the most unlikely but exciting scenario over the most probable but mundane explanation.

    I once saw a ball of lightning - it only meandered about 100 metres from the point where the lightning struck to where it hit our generator shed, and I often wondered if it was possible for them to wander further than the path I saw, as it would definitely have been branded a UFO of alien origins. I knew it was lightning as I was standing about 20 metres from the strike - chance had me looking right at the point where the lightning hit, looking very like a stream of molten metal being poured into the ground with little balls of it 'bubbling' out of the edges but falling back into the ground and disappearing.

    It went into a patch of bare earth in the garden even though there were tall trees and steel sheds and the house where I was standing within thirty metres of it.

    One, a bit bigger than a basketball and much larger than the others, splashed out of the stream of light where it hit, only instead of just falling back down into the ground, it sort of just floated away, moving at walking pace about three metres off the ground. It was fascinating. It wandered over the chook yard fence (steel mesh) and between the homestead and main shed (this was on an outback sheep station), then picked up on the generator that was running at the time (we weren't on the power grid - our electricity came from our own generator) and instead of continuing to float slowly along its path, it shot sideways at incredible speed and smashed into the tin side of the generator shed, leaving a burn mark in the tin and knocking out the generator (5Kva).

    Strangely enough, where I was standing at the end of the huge homestead very close to the lightning, I wasn't aware of any sound and the windows didn't shake, but at the far end of the house, about 30 metres away, it broke windows and the people there came running, thinking my end of the house must have been blasted by the lightning, but it really had been quite calm and quiet. Anyway, the point of that was, if that ball lightning was capable of wandering any further than the 100 metres that I saw, then I have no doubt 'reliable witnesses' would report seeing a space ship.
    Last edited by lealealea; January 22nd, 2012 at 02:32 PM. Reason: To paragraph the recollection of ball lightning.
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    lealealea,

    Just a suggestion, but if you split your post into paragraphs, it would be a hell of a lot easier to read. The walloftext fomat is really hard to digest. I'll go through it, but it's a real pain
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    My apologies! I did actually write it as one paragraph (after the 'good point' sentence was paragraphed) since there was no change of topic, and it wasn't important - just an aside. I type at over 80wpm so words sometimes get away from me.

    When I write for magazines, fiction or children's books, I always keep paragraphs at two - four sentences; the academic writing gets denser at times, but the above was just a recollection, so no excuse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lealealea View Post
    For example, someone who has lived in a house for ten years and knows how far the sunlight of sunrise and sunset reaches inside the house each season (they keep certain things like paintings out of direct sunlight) said for the first time ever, the sun is touching those paintings in the morning. Someone else noticed that the sunshine from the sunset it hitting across the front of their house for the first time ever - they claim the sun appears to be rising and setting further south than in any other summer.
    Those people forget that there are even other reasons which could cause this:
    1. The Atmosphere if its Temperature or it's chemical composition changed (even local) than you get another refraction
    2. Pate tectonics could have changed their whole position to the sun

    and thats only what I thought of in the last 5 minutes
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    and thats only what I thought of in the last 5 minutes
    Wow, you must be really smart.

    lealealea; fascinating story about the ball lightning!
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    and thats only what I thought of in the last 5 minutes
    Wow, you must be really smart.
    imagine me The Simpsons - I Am So Smart - YouTube
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    Dear The Geographer, Interesting point you make, plate techonics. You know that expression... did you feel the Earth move? Yep, the Ancients were that worried about Things moving about and not arriving at expected times that, all over the world they set up elaborate markers to observe the activities of the heavenly bodies. Not realising of course that there could have been a little movement of the goal posts. westwind.
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    who are these "Ancients" that were so worried ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Dear marnixR. The Druids in England.? As you did not identify me personally for the answer to your question I took the liberty to reply, as it was my post that was the Subject matter. I would assume that the Vikings would be concerned that the North Star didn't wander about too much. Iread somewhere ( it was a long time ago, try 40odd years ) that there was great concern that the Sun failed to appear exactly where it was expected to rise on the Horizon. Confidence was down and much sacrifice was called for. Was there a shift of the Earth's crust? It could only have been minor and of limited movement, but put me down as a subscriber to this cause. westwind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by westwind View Post
    The Druids in England.?
    a quotation of the source for that statement would be nice, since i'm not aware that the druids left any written records
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    "Funny, she doesn't look Druish"
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    Dear marnixR. Can you trust the Press? Especially when you do not know the Journalist. However, flippancy aside, in depth speculation based on an interest in all cultures and their Habitates, and the times in which they lived, entitles me to some conceptual thinking. And I think this; I think that a lot of science is not based on Quote "" written records "". Without conceptual thinking Science would serve little purpose. As you well know. The Study of Positional Changes in the observable world might well have been important to the Druids. I think the Druids were high priests of their people, ( again conceptual thinking ), and had to have a few answers when their people were frightened or worried. Why was the understanding of astronomy important? because events could be predicted, ie eclipses. Useful information in keeping your people disciplined and in awe. I,m also interested in Pagan Rites and Beliefs. Myths and Legends. Perhaps not a Scientific bent, but all is grist ( read food ), to an agnostic who is trying to work out how I happened to be here and what our real work is. If you must have provable facts put before you to dissect, then what are you doing in Science Forum? And who the Hell is MeteorWayne? He comments as though he has photos of some Druids. westwind.
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  24. #23  
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    Ahh, no sense of humor... OK.

    On to the current point. What does your post have to do with the topic?
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    all i was looking for was more than an assertion of what you think druids did or said
    where's the evidence to back your assertions up ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    There are manygroups observing this, and technical reports on the subject. We know that thereis a shift of the axis of the planet. And these changes have been recordedthroughout history. We are not a stable planet, and never have been. This is thefirst reference to sunlight reaching through windows that I have read, but thesechanges are not new. We also know that the Earth shifts polar endsperiodically. And some think that we are starting a polar reversal now. That isnot established at this time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    At 1 per average lifespan, you could argue that some highly perceptive, sedentary, soul would notice something amiss... but I would pick selective memory shenanigans as the primary candidate in all cases.
    Its noticable to any civilization that measures astronomical risings and settings and keeps records over a couple of hundred years. Over 10 years, pffft... But I'm still not quick to dismiss the anectdotes of farmers, who do consistently get up at a dark hour and away from light pollution. If you could post some of their testimony, that would be fine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack1941 View Post
    There are manygroups observing this, and technical reports on the subject. We know that thereis a shift of the axis of the planet. And these changes have been recordedthroughout history. We are not a stable planet, and never have been. This is thefirst reference to sunlight reaching through windows that I have read, but thesechanges are not new. We also know that the Earth shifts polar endsperiodically. And some think that we are starting a polar reversal now. That isnot established at this time.
    Wrong. The obliquity of the earth falls in a narrow range from 22.1 and 24.5 degrees on a 41,000-year cycle. The Earth's axis precesses over a period approximately every 26,000 years. Both are quite stable.
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    I agree, they are much better at observing these phenomina than I. And I have often read articles that support that these changes are happening. Our planet is, and always has been in a state of transition. I guess that my twist on this is that it is nothing new, and I have a low level of concern. What will be, will be.
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    Dear Jack1941. Don't give up too soon. Until absolutely proven otherwise we may keep an open mind on the sunlight coming through the window where it has never come before. Just a little bit further South maybe, this beam of sunlight. Well. what;s this? Coldest winter conditions in Europe since I don't know when. Parts of the Danube Freezing over? People not surviving in the conditions. Is the Sun further South? Is Europe missing that beam of sunlight coming in the Kitchen window? westwind.
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    Pure BS. Here in the US, it's one of the warmest winters ever. That's weather, not climate.
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    Dear MeteorWayne. The US would have many climates.From Chicago to Dallas. Snow is not likely in Los Vegas. Keep me informed this year as I expect, from what you told me, you could be in for a warm summer. In Texas. westwind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by westwind View Post
    Dear MeteorWayne. The US would have many climates.From Chicago to Dallas.
    No kidding. What's your point?

    Snow is not likely in Los Vegas.

    It's certainly not unheard of either.

    MOST SNOW IN 24 HOURS (inches)

    9.0.....1/4-5/1974
    7.5.....1/30-31/1979
    5.0.....1/11-12/1949
    4.7.....1/25/1949
    4.4.....1/1/1974
    4.1.....2/3-4/1939
    4.0.....11/15-16/1964
    3.6.....12/17/2008
    2.4.....1/28/1979
    2.3.....1/19-20/1949
    2.0.....12/15/1967
    1.5.....1/12/1937 AND 1/7/1955

    Keep me informed this year as I expect, from what you told me, you could be in for a warm summer. In Texas. westwind.
    None of this has anything to do with the subject of this discussion. Did you read the thread title? WTH are you babbling about?
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    Dear MeteorWayne. Thank you for your prompt post. I generally here from 1330 hrs to 1600hrs on and off. Thank you for the information re snow falls in Los Vegas. You posted that you are experiencing a warm Summer season in the US. Even in Los Vegas. I assume Key Largo is part of the US. For all I know you could live in Key Largo. I should imagine it would be warm there. You therefore quoted anecdotal weather summeries from the Media concerning the current weather pattern over the US. The thread concerns shifting of daylight positions of the earth in relation to the Sun. I have the feeling that you think this is unlikely. for a moment I thought the warming of the US. might be connected to this proposition. regards . westwind.
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    Your posts are still not on topic.

    Note I actually said a warm WINTER so far in the US, contrasting it with the cold of Europe and Asia.

    In reality, here in NJ we have has 12 conscutive months of above normal temperatures; in fact it's the 3rd highest 12 month temperature in historical records that go back to 1895.

    But, that has nothing to do with the topic of the discussion, just clearing up your misconceptions.

    "The thread concerns shifting of daylight positions of the earth in relation to the Sun. I have the feeling that you think this is unlikely."

    It's more than unlikely. It's impossible, and is not happening other than the variations on the 41,000 and 26,000 year cycles I mentioned in post # 27, whuich are too small to perceive in a human lifetime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack1941 View Post
    the Earth shifts polar endsperiodically. And some think that we are starting a polar reversal now.
    I think you mean magnetic north not true north.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    As Hipparchus (Hipparchus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) noted the precession of the axis, many years before modern observational gear and records, we know that such changes can be perceived by one careful observer within their lifetime.

    But the house - or landscape, or even the continent - is more likely to have shifted oddly than the rotational axis of the planet. And the observations of sunlight slants during the year involves a variety of factors, from the memory and clouds mentioned to such factors as the time of day of the actual orbital position in a given place - maybe it used to be nighttime, or the sun low and blocked by something, when the farthest reach of the window's alignment was passed, until this year?
    Last edited by iceaura; February 13th, 2012 at 01:39 PM.
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    duplicate deleted
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    As Hipparchus (Hipparchus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) noted the precession of the axis, many years before modern observational gear and records, we know that such changes can be perceived by one careful observer within their lifetime.

    But the house - or landscape, or even the continent - is more likely to have shifted oddly than the rotational axis of the planet. And the observations of sunlight slants during the year involves a variety of factors, from the memory and clouds mentioned to such factors as the time of day of the actual orbital position in a given place - maybe it used to be nighttime, or the sun low and blocked by something, when the farthest reach of the window's alignment was passed, until this year?
    "His other reputed achievements include the discovery of Earth's precession..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by meteor
    "His other reputed achievements include the discovery of Earth's precession..."
    Whoever actually made that discovery credited to him, the point remains.
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    From here:

    Axial precession (astronomy) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    "the discovery of precession is usually attributed to Hipparchus (190120 BC) of Rhodes or Nicaea, a Greek astronomer. According to Ptolemy's Almagest, Hipparchus measured the longitude of Spica and other bright stars. Comparing his measurements with data from his predecessors, Timocharis (320260 BC) and Aristillus (~280 BC), he concluded that Spica had moved 2 relative to the autumnal equinox."

    and

    "rate of about 50.3 seconds of arc per year (approximately 360 degrees divided by 25,772), or 1 degree every 71.6 years"
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    Well, the alleged motion is far greater than that of course - that is, we assume the barely perceivable to the careful and technically minded Hipparchus is not something a householder in a midlatitude location is going to notice casually in ten years.

    But one problem we have here is that some features can amplify small changes - a picture on a wall almost parallel to the incoming sun could potentially amplify the change in angle by a large factor. The difference between shaded and sunlit could be a very small fraction of a degree moving the sunlight several inches down the wall - the sort of thing a mere half day difference in exact solstice timing, from day to night, say, might create.

    Let's presume a simple, flat on perpendicular to the window picture wall. The picture was out of the sunlight by a full centimeter, it's 5 meters from the window, the frame is one centimeter wide, and the sunlight has to move unto the picture itself to be seen as hitting the picture. Two centimeters. The sine of the angle change is .02/5 or .004, the angle change is about .2 degrees in ten years or one degree in fifty years.

    We seem to be not too far from reasonable, given some hypersensitivity and a little bit of angle to the wall, for an observation of ordinary precession.
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    We seem to be not too far from reasonable, given some hypersensitivity and a little bit of angle to the wall, for an observation of ordinary precession.
    Human beings tend not to notice terribly phlegmatic incremental changes, nor do they bother with the mindless tedium of measuring shadows on walls over a fifty year period.

    What they do do is keep records of where stars and planets are during the rising and setting of the sun, moreso when agriculture is involved. They'll notice when their records don't match up.
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    So someone will notice a 4 minute difference in a human lifetime in everyday life? I think not. Yes, you can detect it if you make precision measurements when you are ahe 5 and age 75...
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    I'm not saying it's the most likely explanation - I was just intrigued by the fact that a decade scale precession level change in sun angle could actually register in someone's awareness as described in the anecdotes and rumors.

    It could move a picture on a wall from out of the sun into the sun, in such a way (clouds, diurnal timing) that a person might not notice it happening gradually and then suddenly notice it one day. I would not have guessed that, by quick intuition - I had not been alert to how the angle of a wall can amplify slight changes in the angle of the light through a window.
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