Summer(?) Solstice

To the sun devotees gathered at the Solar Calendar Sunday evening, it seemed more like winter solstice than summer. The forecast was clear and toasty, but the reality was chilly fog and biting wind. We did get one break, though: the marine layer under the fog cleared in time for us to see the sun setting behind the coastal hills. San Francisco Exploratorium teacher Tory Brady skipped the customary big globe that she’s brought in the past because the wind might have blown it away. Instead she explained with handheld plastic globes and vigorous arm gestures how the sun’s path across the sky slants at different angles with the seasons, but never goes directly overhead at our latitudes. Vivian White, Director of Free Choice Learning at the Astronomy Society of the Pacific, brought a telescope designed for viewing solar eclipses and trained it on the setting sun. Also present were Solar Calendar luminaries Alan Gould of the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the learned Rabbi David Cooper, as well as Solar Calendar founder and curator Santiago Casal.

Left: Santiago Casal, founder and curator of the Solar Calendar, peeks over shoulder of astronomy teacher Vivian White with her eclipse viewing-telescope.

Below: view of the setting sun on the screen of the eclipse-viewing device.

Sunset at Summer Solstice below bank of chilly fog

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