Zero Shadow Day: A Celestial Event to Illuminate Your Life

Zero Shadow Day

A “Zero Shadow Day” is a fascinating celestial event that occurs when the Sun is directly overhead and objects on the ground do not cast any shadow. This event is also sometimes referred to as a “Lahaina Noon” in Hawaii.

Bengaluru is set to witness the Zero Shadow Day on August 18, 2023

Here’s what happens during Zero Shadow Day

Position of the Sun

The Sun reaches a position in the sky called the zenith, which means it’s directly overhead. When this occurs, any vertical object, like a flagpole or a straight-standing person, will not cast a shadow.

Latitude and the Tropic Circles

Zero Shadow Days only occur between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. This is because the Sun is only directly overhead (at the zenith) within these latitudes during its annual movement between the tropics. The event happens twice a year for any given location within this zone. Once when the Sun is moving northward, and once when it’s moving southward.

Timing

The exact date and time of the Zero Shadow Day varies depending on the latitude of the location. As the Sun progresses in its annual path, different locations experience this event on different dates.

Bengaluru (also known as Bangalore) is situated at a latitude of around 12.97° N, which places it within the tropical zone. Hence, it experiences the Zero Shadow Day phenomenon twice a year. It’s worth noting that while this phenomenon is interesting, it’s not particularly rare for locations in the tropical regions.

However, it can be a great educational opportunity to understand the Earth-Sun relationship and the Earth’s axial tilt. If you’re in Bengaluru or a similar latitude on such a day, you can observe the phenomenon by placing a vertical stick on the ground and watching its shadow (or lack thereof) around noon.

If Bengaluru (located in India) is set to witness the Zero Shadow Day on August 18, it means that on that day, around local noon, objects will not cast any shadows for a brief moment. Bengaluru’s latitude is approximately 12.97° N, which places it within the range of latitudes that can experience this phenomenon.

For observers, the event is a unique opportunity to experience a natural curiosity. It’s not just an academic or astronomical event; it provides a tactile experience of our planet’s place in the solar system and its relationship with the Sun.

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