Foucault’s Pendulum

This Parisian iron ball suspended and wire-swinging
inside the Panthéon dome proves that Earth
rotates on its axis, steady but relative
to our turning world. It’s physics –
but I take comfort in any constancy.

 


I learned more about Foucault’s pendulum in Umberto Eco’s novel by that name. It’s a high-level adventure that might remind you of Dan Bown’s popular novels. Some Milanese book editors create an elaborate hoax connecting the medieval Knights Templar with occult groups and making a map that shows the geographical point from which all the powers of the earth can be controlled. Spoiler: It’s in Paris at Foucault’s Pendulum.

Earthrise In Earthshine

Before daybreak these mornings, two bright objects
of nighttime, Moon and Venus, are East.
Earthshine’s glow lights the Moon’s dark side
with this twice-reflected sunlight and Earth appears
a half-lighted landscape in the lunar sky.

 

Earthrise

This NASA photograph from Apollo 11 shows the partly-illuminated Earth rising over the lunar horizon. The Earth is approximately 400,000 km away.

The days are longest now, not figuratively,

we are really closer to the sun

this solstice and we are moving faster.

Not much, but at noon I’m feeling

dizzy, gravity-heavy and dreading the new year

when we will be closer, even faster.

Sundial

A 19th-Century Pocket Sundial

 

Today being the solstice, we are having longer days than back in June at the earlier solstice. Earth’s perihelion – closest point to the sun – always comes in early January. That means that the Northern Hemisphere winter (Southern Hemisphere summer) is the shortest of the four seasons, even though it is also the longest days for the entire globe.