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We're wondering about summer in Norway, so we have the Northern Hemisphere tilted towards our flashlight Sun. Hmm, I don't think that flashlight is powerful enough for this experiment. Yeah, there we go.


  1. While the Sun is Above Us, by Melanie Schnell.
  2. Earth's tilt 2: Land of the midnight sun.
  3. Measurement.

We can see that the half of the Earth that's facing the Sun is lit up. It's daytime on this half, and nighttime on the other half. We'll put a little flag here in the northern part of Norway, which is above the Arctic Circle. And we'll put another little flag here in the US, which is below the Arctic Circle.

If we start rotating the globe, we see that there's a point where the Sun is no longer shining on the US. We experience this as sunset. However, the Sun continues to shine on Norway. It's so far north that it's always in sunlight. Oh, awesome. That's so cool, 24 hours of sunlight.

So much time for fun stuff. Skiing, hiking, [GASP] mini-golf. Not in the winter. What do you mean?

While the Sun is Above Us, by Melanie Schnell - The Globe and Mail

Let's take a look at Norway in the winter. During this season, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun. So if we rotate the Earth, we see that the US is in periods of sunlight and darkness. But we can't see the Norwegian flag at all. That means-- Twenty-four hours of darkness.

Red Sun

Sad, but true. Oh, man. That stinks. It sure does. The same thing happens between the Antarctic circle and the South Pole too. During their summer, they have 24 hours of sunlight, and during their winter, they have 24 hours of darkness. So that's crazy. Even if you don't live far north or south, the tilt of the Earth still affects the length of the day. If it's the June solstice, we have 24 hours of sunlight here above the Arctic Circle, and 24 hours of darkness here below the Antarctic Circle.

So if we were to go a little south to the US, between the equator and the Arctic Circle, how many hours of daylight do you think we'll have? Less than Right, it's the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. If we continue south until we get to the equator, halfway between the poles, here we have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.

If we go even further south to Australia, between the equator and the Antarctic Circle, how many hours of daylight will we have? This is the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. The effect is reversed during the December solstice. There's more than 12 hours of daylight below the equator, and less than 12 hours of daylight above it.

So now you know how the tilt of the Earth causes both the seasons and the length of the day to change. So it's the tilt of the Earth that gives us longer days in summer and shorter days in winter. I think it's time for some celebratory summer Midnight mini-golf. Right, Martin? Martin, are you awake? Up Next. Schnell cleverly juxtaposes and parallels the two main characters and two continents throughout the novel. Adut comes from North Africa, where polygamy, illiteracy and a patriarchal social and economic system debilitate already overburdened minority Dinka women caught in a gory civil war.

Sandra, though academically gifted, chooses a life of bar waitressing to support her musician husband, whose betrayal inadvertently prompts her journey to Africa. Interestingly, after her car accident, Sandra bears a scar on her face, a metaphor for "unsuccessful" North American women? Women, who, in a world of Oprah you-can-have-it-all gratifications, "fail" to capitalize on western feminism's dubious progress? Free to make her own choices, Sandra makes a series of ill-informed decisions which nearly cost her life.

The Celestial Sphere

Adut, who is shoved around like the cattle the Dinka people rely on for their livelihood, has very few choices; her minority status and gender place her at the very lowest social stratum. For all their differences, Schnell's relentless depiction of the physical, emotional and mental anguish both narrators endure twins the women in an unexpected camaraderie of suffering. Inexorable descriptions of this suffering would be arduous to read were it not for Schnell's skillful ability to balance out the thrum of painful intensity that runs throughout the prose with gently asserted control.

Her prose is confrontational: Adut says to Sandra: "Did you think you could escape the debt of grief that this land carries? Did you think you could come here and then leave, untouched? At the same time — as heralded by the title — Schnell's style is rooted in the North African landscape, in its sun, sky, dust, song, blood, moons, cattle and flesh. Though the time-shifts can be a bit confusing and distracting, for readers who pay close attention — and who know Sudan's fraught history — the temporal leaps will be easy to navigate, while providing insight into one of the most fascinating and troubling places under the sun.

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Earth's tilt 2: Land of the midnight sun

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