Wednesday, October 25, 2006

GP - What difference does 5 degrees make?

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And Mr. Kluges graces us with another guest post....

It's a simple question that I find myself pondering as the days grow shorter and we get closer to winter. Last year's winter seems a bit like a dream where everything was dark and fuzzy. Sometime during last winter, I became a bit obsessed with sunrise and sunset and the length of the day.

I knew that we were moving further north, but I never bothered to check to see how much further north. It can't be that much further right? Well it turns out we are 5 degrees further north. To put that into perspective for those of you back home, we are as far north as Winnipeg, Canada, and further north than any point in the contiguous 48.

I came across this handy website ( which will tell you all kinds of nifty facts about the sun and moon. For instance, did you know there was such a thing as nautical twilight? Anyway, compared to back home on December 21st, during the darkest day of the year, if you exclude twilight, I miss out on a whole hour of daylight. Now maybe you think it's a lot, maybe you don't, but I definitely notice it. And I miss it.

I remember when we moved here in May and our next door neighbor was sitting outside, leaning against her house just enjoying the sun. It wasn't a particularly warm day (maybe high 50's or low 60's) but there she was, basking. It struck me as odd, but I totally understand now that after a long dark winter, you can crave the sun with an intensity equal to chocolate.

So, all you folks out there in sunny USA, if you can figure out a way to bottle up some sunshine and send it over, I'd be grateful. I'll need to store it up for the upcoming months.


nonicktodd said...

I don't know know how to bottle sunshine, but I'm thinking if we get a REALLY big mirror...

The Dude said...

Rather than thinking about the sunshine-- remember to give some thought to the Gulf Stream! Without it, you'd be under six feet of snow... :)

Hmm... that isn't helping. I guess I'm sticking with nonicktodd: Big Space Mirror

Squee said...

nonickTodd...Is that No Nick Todd or Non Ick Todd? :)

Ang said...

Or nice bright lamps with white, white bulbs in them. Seriously, I'd send you one, but the electricity is different over there and it would just be pathetic if it flicked and was pale instead of bright!

Mary P. said...

Over here (Canada) you can get "full-spectrum" bulbs, which are supposed to give you a wider range of light than normal bulbs, and ward off some of the winter blues.

Frankly, I'm not sure if they work, but what does give me a definite lift of the spirits are strings of tiny Christmas tree lights which I string about the doorways of my house mid-November. I think it's the little sparkles of colour.

(I just checked out that website. Ottawa's day is a whopping 22 minutes longer than Calgary's. But though our sunrise comes earlier, so does our sunset. This seems odd to me - I'd exepected the difference to show in a few minutes at each end of the day...)