Chapter 1 Review Questions

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  • Topic: Solstice, Sun, Equinox
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Chapter 1
• Archaeoastronomy and the Sun
3 Sites (Newgrange, Sundagger, Stonehenge)
Newgrange’s roofbox is aligned to the winter solstice sunrise
2) the alignment of the tome likely reflects a belief in rebirth or reincarnation • The Sundagger of Chaco Canyon (~1000 AD)
1) On the summit of Fajada Butte in New Mexico, 2 spiral carvings were found behind 3 stone slabs
2) At noon on the solstices and equinoxes, the Sundagger exhibits 2 beams of sunlight which either bisect or frame the spirals • Stonehenge (~3000 BC)
1) Stonehenge’s Heel Stone is aligned to its summer solstice sunrise
2) Today, the summer solstice Sun rises behind the Heel Stone
3) When Stonehenge was built, the summer solstice Sun rose beside the Heel Stone (due to the precession of the equinoxes)
4) This suggests: there used to be 2 Heel Stones to frame the sunrise

The Sun’s Daily Cycle
1. Due to Earth’s 24-hour eastward-spin around its polar axis, the Sun moves westward across the sky, it rises in the east, reaches its highest point at noon, then sets in the west 2. N-hemisphere: Sun is mostly seen on the South side of the sky, reaching due South at noon 3. S-hemisphere: Sun is mostly seen on the North side of the sky, reaching due North at noon

The Sun’s Annual Cycle
1. Fall and Spring Equinox (Sep23&Mar21): Sun rises due E & sets due W, spending equal time above and below the horizon (equal day & night). (Equinox: Latin for “equal night”) 2. Winter Solstice (Dec22): Sun rises and sets at its southernmost position, traversing a short, low arc in the sky (shortest day of the year & lowest noon sun). (Solstice: Latin for “solar standstill”) 3. Summer Solstice (Jun22): Sun rises and sets at its northernmost position, traversing a long, high arc (longest day, highest noon sun) 4. In the S-hemisphere, the Sun’s daily arcs point N rather than S 5. Identifying the Sun’s rising and setting positions on the solstices simply requires finding its northernmost & southernmost...
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