Saturday, December 26, 2015

Solar Noon

Well, Christmas is over for another year – Phew! I am not a fan, though I must say that this year has been way better for me than most. I usually experience something that I think of as H-SAD – Holiday Season(al) Affective Disorder, which manifests as low mood and general crankiness that lasts from early December to December 26.

In recent years, I have become resigned to this yearly visitation of misery. But this year, I decided to take a different tack. I essentially pretended that Christmas wasn't happening. I stayed away from stores, crowded parking lots, canned Christmas music and the rest of it. It was a very effective strategy. I felt much more cheerful than I usually do in December and Christmas was over almost before I knew it.


And now that Christmas is over, things are back to normal, which means that I am back doing work to develop my land.

I have been reading up on passive solar heating and had a plan to visit my land to locate "Solar South" so I will know how to orient my tiny house – and also any eventual permanent dwelling on my land.

I was planning to visit on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. But December 22 was severely overcast. Today, on the other hand, was sunny and +8 degrees Celsius – a perfect day to do a little on-site work.
The clearing on the knoll: December 26, 2015

Solar South at Solar Noon

Solar south is slightly different from magnetic south (as indicated on a compass), and solar noon is slightly different from noon on the clock. Solar south is the direction that points toward the sun at solar noon, which is the exact middle of the day, the halfway point between dawn and dusk.

Solar noon can be calculated by figuring out the number of hours between sunrise and sunset and dividing them by two. Or, one can just leverage the power of the Internet and look solar noon up on a chart like this one.

Today, solar noon was at 12:16 pm.

To identify solar south, all I needed to do was go to my land, pound a stake into the ground and look at the direction of the shadow at 12:16 pm.

Then, pound a second stake in where the shadow fell. The line formed by the two stakes points to solar south.

Easy-peasy! Especially on a December day that was so warm that I could do the work in my shirtsleeves.

After I was finished at my land, I went to visit "my" beach.
And then I visited some friends. And then had a ferry ride back to my winter home.

Needless to say, this was a very good day.

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