Longest Day

Sunset at the end of the longest day of the year, June 21 2022, the Summer Solstice

The longest day of the year ended Tuesday June 21 with a gathering of the astronomically curious at the Cesar Chavez/Dolores Huerta homage Solar Calendar on the western ridge of Cesar Chavez Park. Star educator Vivian White was there with a solar telescope fitted with filters to allow direct viewing of the sun. Her device, about the size of a stovepipe, had resolution sharp enough to reveal a cluster of sunspots which, she said, had been rapidly growing over the past few days. Vivian also handed out eclipse sunglasses that let people look directly at the sun without damage to the eyes. I took some images of the sun using the eclipse glasses as a filter; the image is clear but not sharp enough to reveal the sunspots. Also present and providing orientation on the functions of the solar calendar that founder and curator Santiago Casal had built was Tory Brady of the Exploratorium; she had anticipated not being able to come but was able to clear her conflict at the last moment. More than a couple of dozen people assembled loosely at the site, some listening to Vivian and Tory, some chatting among themselves, others just watching the sun go down — an event greeted with applause.

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