The Observant Astronomer

The passing scene as observed by an observant Jew, who daylights as an astronomer.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Today the Sun and Earth are as close to each other as they ever get. Come 3 July they'll be as far apart as they get, i.e aphelion. Unlike the solstices and equinoxes, these events have no significance for the Jewish calendar. Nor do they take a stance on the centrism question. Further, we can clearly see that it is not now winter in the Northern Hemisphere because the Sun is further away.

But there is one practical effect of perihelion, for although the shortest northern day was back at the time of the winter solstice, at mid-northern latitudes this is the time of year with the latest sunrise. Call it vasikan season, when, if you are in the right place, even if you sleep in, you can still daven shacharis in the best manner, with Shema just before sunrise and Tefillah at sunrise.


Post a Comment

<< Home