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A Year in the Life of the Sun

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Uploaded on Feb 16, 2012

Take a photo of the sun at the same time every day for a year (with the camera in a fixed position) and the sun traces out a curly shape in the sky, called the analemma. There are plenty of analemma photos from locations all around the world, but how many have been animated and set to stirring music...?

Talking of the stirring music, Calling All Workers by Eric Coates was perfect. It has a strong beat, a two-part structure (giving me the chance for the 5-second Intermission at half-time!), and it has a tongue-in-cheek pomposity about it that I like a lot. It comes from the CD "British Light Music Classics - I", performed by Ronald Corp and the New London Orchestra, and this recording is used here courtesy of Hyperion Records Ltd (www.hyperion-records.co.uk).

If you think the animation is not properly in sync with the beat of the music, try again - it varies. It is perfect in the tool I used to create the video (ProShow Gold), but sometimes wrong in the video itself. If I ever figure this out I will upload a new version with perfect sync.

Why the analemma is the shape it is has to do with the tilt of the earth's axis relative to its orbit around the sun, and the fact that the orbit is elliptical rather than circular. Exactly why these two factors combine to create the shape that you see is a bit like the s-bend of a toilet: very hard to get your head around!

If you watch carefully you will see that a prominent building gets obliterated by the big explosion. It's something I've always wanted to do to that building.

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