Latitude Adjustment – A day in my shoes!

If you live in southern California, you’re probably used to looking up around 12pm and seeing the sun approximately overhead, almost year round, right? Here in the land of Vikings, as we are blessed to be at 55 degrees latitude, the tilt of the Earth is much more dramatically felt. This means that in summer, the sun is out for a really long time—rising around 4am and setting fully around 21.30 (9:30pm)—and in winter, the sun only makes a guest appearance in our daily lives.

I use a program called Stellarium to see exactly what the sky looks like without clouds or other disturbances. You can set different dates and times, or turn features on to see constellations and other details. This is what Saturday looked like, facing South (the landscape is just a generic background) :

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At approximately noon

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Note the timestamp in the bottom center: That’s where the sun was at 3PM!

Check out how low the sun seems to stay to the ground! It also doesn’t “rise in the East, set in the West” like we’ve always been taught—in winter it’s more like rising in the Southeast and setting in the Southwest. In summer it’s Northeast and Northwest.

While this is really cool from a scientific standpoint, it’s not so practical—these are some dark days!