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A Shadow Of The PastThe Lord Of The Rings : Sea...

Bright rose the sun next day; and all the flowers of the gardenBathed his shining feet with their tears, and anointed his tressesWith the delicious balm that they bore in their vases of crystal."Farewell!" said the priest, as he stood at the shadowy threshold;"See that you bring us the Prodigal Son from his fasting and famine,And, too, the Foolish Virgin, who slept when the bridegroom was coming.""Farewell!" answered the maiden, and, smiling, with Basil descendedDown to the river's brink, where the boatmen already were waiting.Thus beginning their journey with morning, and sunshine, and gladness,Swiftly they followed the flight of him who was speeding before them,Blown by the blast of fate like a dead leaf over the desert.Not that day, nor the next, nor yet the day that succeeded,Found they trace of his course, in lake or forest or river,Nor, after many days, had they found him; but vague and uncertainRumors alone were their guides through a wild and desolate Country;Till, at the little inn of the Spanish town of Adayes,Weary and worn, they alighted, and learned from the garrulous landlord,That on the day before, with horses and guides and companions,Gabriel left the village, and took the road of the prairies.

A Shadow of the PastThe Lord of the Rings : Sea...


Depending on the time of day, the season and the latitude the viewer is located, Earth's shadow might fall on the rings. Earth's shadow would look oval-shaped on its rings, "and move as time goes by," Scharf said. (Earth's shadow would look oval-shaped instead of circular for much the same reason that your shadow looks stretched out compared to you.)

During the equinoxes, the sun would lie on the same plane as the rings. At these times, at Earth's middle latitudes, the planet's shadow would appear to stretch across the rings to its greatest extent, plunging large portions of the rings into darkness. At the equator, the rings would appear to divide the sun, casting a dramatic shadow over half the world.

Likewise, the rings themselves would cast shadows on Earth. During the summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the rings would cast their shadows on the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa. This could mean that winters in both hemispheres might be colder and more severe than they are on our Earth. However, at the same time, "ringshine" might increase the total light Earth receives, "so the climate effects are tricky to pinpoint," Scharf said.

In addition, Scharf noted that around the edges of Earth's shadow on the rings, one would see light that was filtered through Earth's atmosphere. "You might get some funky colors at the shadow's edges, maybe a blood-red rim," he said. "I could imagine all sorts of mythologies built around that."

Rings in the sky could potentially help navigators estimate longitude a number of ways. Shepherd moons could trek around Earth along predictable orbits, like moving hands on a clock. The rings of Saturn possess mysterious spokes, likely related to Saturn's magnetic field, and any spokes on Earth's rings could act like time markers on a clock face. The way that Earth's shadow moves on the rings could also serve as a giant cosmic timepiece. "You could really get a sophisticated kind of timekeeping system with the rings," Scharf said. 041b061a72

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