Friday, June 20, 2008

Solstice Confusion

Washington DC (see the picture)
N 38 52.736 W 077 01.507

Libby and I went to the American Indian Museum today, in hope of seeing the light pattern on the floor at the summer solstice. However, there seems to be some confusion about whether the solstice is today (6/20) or tomorrow (6/21).

According to Wikipedia, the solstice this year is at 6/20/2008 23:59 UTC. According to another source, it is at 6/21/2008 00:00 UTC. These sources differ only by one minute, but that is the exact minute the date changes. In either case, that makes the solstice today, at 18:59 (or 19:00) local time. Noon today (6/20 13:10 local time) should be the noon closest to the solstice.

Nevertheless, most sources on the web seem to be saying that tomorrow, 6/21 is the solstice, not today.

What about the evidence from the sun? The special patterns of light on the floor of the American Indian Museum did not appear today. We're going to return there tomorrow for another try.

While we were there, I learned from a Blolivian docent that every detail in the museum was designed by native American tribes. The main door faces east, the lines in the floor, the shape and color of marble blocks in the floor, the lack of corners, the colors of paint -- countless small details, were specified by the natives. It is very gratifying to hear that this museum is not merely a white man's concept of what an Indian museum should look like. Perhaps there are dissenting views, but the story sounds good.

We also had lunch at the House of Representatives. They served an ass kicking taco salad today, the best I've ever had. Those people sure do eat good.

Tonight, Libby and I head out to Wolf Trap. That's a performing arts center similar to Saratoga or Tanglewood. We're going to see HMS Pinafore.

Poor Jenny is still recovering from her illness. She stayed on the boat the whole time.

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