Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Day of Fall 2014

Happy Autumnal Equinox!  September 23 is the first full day of fall in 2014.  It's also an annoying day of the year if you are someone, like me, who drives directly east to work in the morning right around sunrise.  We've all heard the phrase that the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but this is a tad misleading.  The truth is that the Sun rises SOMEWHERE in the east and sets SOMEWHERE in the west.  During the summer months (assuming the northern hemisphere), the sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest.  In the winter months the Sun rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest.  The closer the day is to one of the two equinoxes (first day of fall/spring), the closer the Sun rises directly east and sets directly west.  On the equinoxes the Sun does rise directly east and set directly west.  This poses problems for drivers.

In the United States (where land is flat), most roads run directly north/south or east/west.  The roads that run east/west will have the Sun rising/setting directly in front of you at certain times of the day.  Like me, if you drive to work between 7-8 AM and you drive directly east, you see something like this:

But instead of high in the sky, the Sun sits just directly above the road.  It appears in that space between the horizon and the sun guard in your car.  Very annoying, especially when I approach a stop light and the Sun is so bright, directly level with the light, making it very difficult to see the light itself!  It's like this for a couple of days before and after the first day of fall.  After that, the rise position of the Sun has changed enough that the Sun is no longer directly above the road.  

Who knows, maybe I'm the only one who has this problem.  :-)  I love fall because I'm usually tired of the hot, humid weather of summer, but I could do without the bright Sun in my eyes problem.  :-)

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