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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

ECOtime

Air Date: Week of January 23, 2009

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The planet's natural calendar, with its cycles of hibernation, sprouting, fading and rebirth, can seem remote in our techno-filled lives. Tune in to the remedy: ECOtime. This week, we hear about gray days.

Transcript

CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth, I'm Steve Curwood.

January - it’s a hazy shade of winter and daylight is scarce. The folks at the ECOcalendar project capture cosmic moments like this in what we call ECOtime.

[ECOTIME THEME]

HARDMAN: Gray days. It's dark now when you rise, and dark again before you retire, and the days rarely brighten up, instead they're gray. It's not because the earth has moved further from the sun, no, it's because the earth is tilted on its axis, and the North Pole is tipping away from the sun right now.

In the summer, the North Pole is tilted toward the sun, and the sunrays shine almost straight down. But now the sun is low in the sky, and its rays have to pass through lots of earth's atmosphere to get here. That's lots of possible dark gray clouds, fog and mist to block and bounce the light. So, the bright yellow of the sun is seen as bone white by the time it finally penetrates earth's atmospheric filter.

CURWOOD: That's Chris Hardman with ECOTIME, part of the ECOcalendar project.
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