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KUTV.com | Stories - Good question: What's the figure eight printed on globes?
Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Good question: What's the figure eight printed on globes?
(KUTV) Take a look at just about any map or globe and you're likely to see some things besides just land and sea. On the maps and globes for sale at Utah Idaho Supply/Map World in Sugarhouse we found trade route lines, explorer's faces, drawings of old timey ships and even sea monsters. And then on many globes there's a vertical figure eight with the upper loop about half the size of the lower loop.

Seth Jarvis with the Clark Planetarium says it's called an analemma which he says is based on the sun.

"It's simply a depiction of where the sun appears to be moving through the course of the year," Jarvis said.

Jarvis says that if you observed the sun at the same time every time every day over the course of the year it would travel in that analemma pattern. The sun is higher in the sky in the summer months than it is in the winter months, hence the vertical difference. Horizontal difference, what makes that pattern a figure eight as opposed to a straight line, is attributed to the tilt of the earth's axis.

So what is the point of the analemma?  Because the sun's position changes based on the time of year, it's really just a fancy calendar.

By: Matt Gephardt

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)
Good question: What's the figure eight printed on globes?

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