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Kasilof Community News

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2007

The Tustumena Elementary School parent-teacher organization (PTO) cash raffle was pulled off Dec. 8. Audrey Russell and Shelley Davis drew tickets while Jim Russell (Audrey's brother-in-law) was the announcer. Sheila Garrant, president of the PTO, taped the tickets to the display. She breathed a sigh of relief when all tickets were accounted for again this year. Janet Gleason, a Soldotna resident and registered nurse at Central Peninsula Hospital, won the $2,500 grand prize. TJ Checketts, son of Shane and Tosha Checketts of Tustumena Lake Road, sold the winning ticket. Demery Garrant sold the most tickets, for which she won a digital Kodak camera pack. Rachael Blossom and Myia Wright sold the second- and third-most tickets. Every year 400 tickets are printed and this year 382 sold, the most ever. The raffle started in 1999 when Lisa Stroh was principal and Judy Johnson was PTO president.

Some Kasilovians want snow and ice for the solstice. That dark date arrives Saturday. A solstice is the instant when vertical sunlight strikes its farthest traverse from the equator. A glance at a globe will show the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5 degrees south latitude (which coincides with the earth's 23.5 degree tilting axis) and is the sourtherly-most latitude to receive vertical sunrays. During summer solstice the Tropic of Cancer is teased with a moment of vertical gold.

Interestingly, neither the latest sunrise nor the earliest sunset occurs Saturday. For Kasilof the latest sunrise is at 10:11 a.m. and happens from Dec. 26 through 30 and the earliest sunset clocks in at 3:54 p.m. from Dec. 16 through 18. Is this because of a crack in refraction at Humpy Point?

Nope.

It is because of "obliquity." Obliquity is not the same as what happens to Uncle Schnawpses gaze when he is into the lighter end of the eggnog. Obliquity is a process of sunrays intersecting a spherical, moving target, and that works like this: If the earth were spinning, but not orbiting, each sunrise and sunset would occur at the same time. In truth, the earth travels at varying speeds through an elliptical orbit, all while tilted at a 23.5 degrees. Thus average days are 24 hours, but actual days vary. The establishment of metronomic days cannot quite match the movements of nature.

At Kasilof, sunrise Saturday is 10:09 a.m., which is 1 hour and 51 minutes before noon; sunset is at 3:56 p.m., which is 3 hours and 56 minutes from noon. This gives 5 hours and 47 minutes of daylight and means the sun is due south at just after 1:02 p.m. Is this where we get the "off" in "Kasilof?"

Nope.

This is mostly because Alaska has a fat time zone and the sun is almost due south of Juneau at noon. Kasilof (151 degrees, 15 minutes west longitude) is some 18 degrees west of Juneau. But others have it worse. Sunrise in Nome on Saturday is at 12:02 p.m. and it sets at 3:56 p.m., same as Kasilof.

Weird, huh?



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