Orbit: Episode Three

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    Aira Idris Aira Idris | 21:45 PM, Sunday, 18 March 2012

    In our journey so far we have explored the impacts of the Earth's Spin and Orbit on the weather and climate.

    The final instalment of the series explores the influence of the tilt on the Earth's weather and climate, and how the Earth's relationship with the Sun affects the way we live our lives.

    Originally the series was called 23 Degrees, (the angle of the tilt) as we considered this factor extremely significant to the variability in seasons our planet experiences. Although the series is now called Orbit, the tilt of the Earth continued to be an extremely important factor of the series. What do you think?

    From the arrival of spring in the Hay river to the affects of the monsoon to the people in India, we wanted to uncover how Nature and culture respond to the variations in the Sun's energy.

    Kate takes us through the ancient archeological site Chichen Itza, Yacatan region of Mexico. At its peak, in the 10th century AD it was a thriving city that sprawled over 25 square kilometres and was home to more than 40000 people.

    We wanted to explore how ancient civilizations had developed a great understanding of our Earth's journey around the Sun, and Kate takes us there on a significant day; the March Equinox. How significant are sites such as temple of Kukulkan and Stonehenge to us today?

    In this episode we also wanted to breakdown the key factors that drive the extremes of weather like the Monsoon, Dust storm and the Tornado.

    Helen travels to Kerala, South of India to discover what drives the Monsoon and visits Tornado Alley with atmospheric Scientist Josh Wurman to explain 'What causes a tornado?'

    A record six EF-5 tornadoes were confirmed in 2011, the most deadly being Joplin Missouri tornado (158 killed, 14 mile path length.)

    What do you think about Episode three? How significant do you think the Earth's tilt is to our climate and weather? How far are we in understanding why one supercell drops a tornado and another doesn't? Has our cultural relationship with the Sun changed over time? Leave your comments on this post.

    In photos: September Equinox 2011

    Aira Idris Aira Idris | 14:00 PM, Friday, 23 September 2011

    Distance travelled ~ 683'292'800 km

    We recently launched our September Equinox photo challenge with the question: How can you reflect the equinox in a photo?

    A few people on Twitter suggested taking a snapshot of all points of the world at exactly 09:04 UTC and sending us a photo of them merged into one; which we just loved the sound of - but - we hadn't given you enough time. Surely to coordinate such a masterpiece 'alone', you would need to be everywhere at once (superman style stuff). Or have a camera positioned and ready at all points of the world, set to click simultaneously at 09.04 UTC (i'm certain they couldn't have meant a lone project). Well because we're a reasonable bunch over here at 23 Degrees, one location was definitely enough. And here's our top photos, enjoy. Roll on Autumn.


    Reflections: A lone tree reflects upon the summer months past

    Above image captured by Colin Dixon, titled Reflections, on 20 September, Big Moor in Derbyshire Peak District.

    autumn sunshine through forest trees

    Autumn sunshine through Forest trees

    Above image captured by Claire McCartney, 10 September, Quebec. "As we walked through the woods the most amazing perfume of earth and sweetened leaves wafted past. And the sun seemed to drop down to kiss the mellow rusted orange of autumn in."


    On the move: A flock of birds in the Summer sky

    This image was captured by John Parish 18 September, Suffolk, UK titled Starlings. "I was at my grandsons birthday party and was distracted by this amazing flock of starlings . They are great to watch so I had to take a few photos!".

    sunset on rail road tracks

    Last sunset of summer: Rail road tracks ablaze

    Image captured by Jim Larson, Meridian, Idaho. Sunset over railroad tracks.

    Day 259: Equinox photo challenge

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    Stephen Marsh Stephen Marsh | 12:30 PM, Friday, 16 September 2011

    solar energy

    Astronaut photograph ISS015-E-10469, courtesy NASA/JSC

    Distance travelled ~ 665'122'400 km

    Autumn Equinox photo challenge:
    On the journey around the Sun we are approaching another key moment in our celestial dance with our star. Next Friday September 23rd is the Autumn Equinox. Equinox means equal night, and that day Earth is in balance. There are approximately 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. In a sense the planet is in neutral, but from that moment onward the northern hemisphere marches towards Autumn while the southern hemisphere approaches Spring. In the north days will be getting shorter and the Sun won't rise as high in the sky and it will gradually get colder.

    To mark this moment we plan on featuring the best photos on our blog next week friday that reflect the Equinox. What we're looking for are shots that show the Sun and it's relationship to our planet and the journey into Autumn, or Spring if you live down-under. Let your imagination run wild. The more creative the better! Get those shutters snapping and see what you can capture.

    To ensure they are considered for this special feature email them to 23degrees@bbc.co.uk, or add them to our photography pool or hashtag your photos with #bbc23degrees on twitter.

    23 Degrees spring equinox photo montage

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    Aira Idris Aira Idris | 18:11 PM, Tuesday, 22 March 2011

    d ~ 208'396'800 km: day 81

    Are we now in spring? Well the date of spring equinox has now passed and I think it's safe to say spring has well and truly arrived in the northern hemisphere. With this increase solar energy comes the rebirth of nature and dare I say summer - perhaps too soon to be getting excited, but it's inevitable so why not.

    We launched our 23 Degrees Flickr pool with the spring equinox and we are thankful for the great photos that now form part of it. Now, as promised we have put together the best photos that were taken on 20th/21st March to mark the last day of winter and first day of spring. Enjoy!

    Spring Equinox photo challenge: name the time and the place

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    Aira Idris Aira Idris | 17:59 PM, Friday, 18 March 2011

    d ~ 198'105'600 km: day 77

    The 2011 spring equinox in the northern hemisphere occurs Sunday, March 20, 23:21 Universal Time (GMT), the time reference based on the rotation of the earth compared to distant celestial objects (Translate Universal time to my time).

    Spring Equinox

    Image courtesy of NASA

    For the Spring Equinox Kate Humble and the team have been encouraging you to get the camera ready for the ultimate photo challenge. Send us your photos of sunrise or photos of spring bursting forth where-ever you are. It could be flowers blooming, a beautiful shot of the sun rising or a celebration at an ancient monument like Stonehenge - whatever it is we want to know about it. We'll use the best photos of the 20th/21st March to build a photo montage of the Equinox experience.

    Just to give you an idea on the 20th March (UK England) the Sun will rise at 06:04 and set at 18:13 and on 21st March which will see the "first sunrise of Spring" the Sun will rise (UK England) at 06:02 and set at 18:15 (Times the Sun will rise and set where I am).

    You can send us your photos by email or add your photos to the BBC 23 Degrees Flickr pool. Wishing everyone a great spring equinox!

    Useful links:

    Check the weather forecast

    Viewing the Sun safely

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