What’s In A Year?
Happy New Year everyone! Ever wondered what a year is, really? In the simplest terms, it’s the amount of time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun one time. How do you figure that out, though?
Well, hopefully you aren’t too hungover from last night and you have shaken the cobwebs out of your noggin’. Because Phil Plait has a heaping helping of year-related science for you: The astronomy of New Year’s Day.
Learn why just waiting for the stars to come back around to the same place will give you a slightly different number for a year than the one we commonly use. Discover that there’s many ways to define a day. Wobble your brain with the wobbly orbit of the Earth! Lose faith in the North Star, for it shall leave our North Skies one day soon! And figure out, once and for all, why they picked January 1st to begin the year…
…well, whatever a “year” is, anyway.
As Phil says, “As usual, astronomers have taken a simple concept like “years” and turned it into a horrifying nightmare of nerdery and math”
One month of the Moon in 2013 (roughly January, to be exact) taken from NASA’s wonderful new video showing the phase of the Moon for the entire year.
This visualization shows the moon’s phase and libration throughout the year 2013, at hourly intervals.
Each frame represents one hour. In addition, this visualization also shows other relevant information, including moon orbit position, subearth and subsolar points, distance from the Earth. Click each graphic to learn more about what it means! Finally, to learn more about this visualization, or to see what the moon will look like at any hour in 2013, visit here.
Learn about your lunar satellite, folks. It’s the only one we have. You might notice the Moon is sort of rocking back and forth. That’s called libration, and you can learn how it works here.