Jan. 3 was perihelion, or the point in our annual orbit closest to the sun. On July 6, we reach aphelion and will be some 3.2 million miles farther away from the sun.
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Our days will get longer and longer until vernal equinox, when day and night will be of equal duration because the wobbling axis of earth will be perpendicular to the sun. From that point, the days will get shorter until autumnal equinox.
Perihelion and equinox are not synchronized. They approach, meet and separate as the eons unwind.
Imagine two clocks side by side, with one slightly slower than the other. The slow one will fall farther and farther behind, until one clock reads noon and the other, mid-night. From that point on, the difference will decrease until they both read noon simultaneously, and then the slow one begins to fall behind again. This is called the "precession of the equinoxes" and is a natural, immutable phenomenon that has shaped our world, giving us ice ages and global warming since the creation of the solar system.
In short, at this point in time we are closest to the sun in winter and farthest from the sun in summer.
Now I don't know whether former Gov. Frank Murkowski or the auto industry caused all this, but I'd sure like to know how Gov. Sarah Palin is going to fix it.
The relationship between perihelion and equinox will eventually "correct" itself in about 10,000 years, if that is of any importance to us. The glaciers will advance again, but not in our lifetimes, and we are such short-lived, egomaniacal critters that we take it personally and blame each other, as if we could alter angle of the earth or the shape of our orbit by creating policies and regulations.
Fact: Industrial emissions and green-house gasses do accelerate climate change, and should be avoided as much as is reasonably possible.
Fact: If Detroit never makes another car, and if cattle are never fed corn instead of grass again, global warming is going to occur.
Fact: The Earth is an organism with an immune system. When all the icefields are gone, sea level will be 600 feet higher than it is today, drowning 90 percent of the world's industrial regions. The Earth is not at risk, but we sure are.
I am not a rocket scientist. I am a bus driver with a GED and a commercial driver's license, and all this information is readily available on the Internet. I am particularly fond of David Suzuki, but also of Rush Limbaugh, and where they concur, truth lies bare.
Do what you can, as a person, but do not think that governors or governments are capable of stopping global warming.
Side with the Earth, not the egomaniacs on global warming.
Tom Strieby is a resident of Cubero, N.M., and summer tour guide in Juneau.