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Thread: a vocabulary question on sky gazing

  1. #1
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Nov 2011

    a vocabulary question on sky gazing

    the word:
    interstice which means I quote:
    A space, especially a small or narrow one, between things or parts:
    "There is a gleam of luminous gold, where the sinking western sun has found a first direct interstice in the clouds" (John Fowles).

    and the word:

    crepuscular form crepuscular rays:
    which means I quote:
    crepuscular rays, in atmospheric optics, are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from the point in the sky where the sun is located. These rays, which stream through gaps in clouds (particularly stratocumulus) or between other objects, are columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud-shadowed regions. Despite seeming to converge at a point, the rays are in fact near-parallel shafts of sunlight, and their apparent convergence is a perspective effect (similar, for example, to the way that parallel railway lines seem to converge at a point in the distance).

    The name comes from their frequent occurrences during crepuscular hours (those around dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Crepuscular comes from the Latin word "crepusculum", meaning twilight.[1]
    1) are the two words the same and one?
    2) is interstice the opposite of solstice?

    thanks for your reply
    Last edited by cacian; 11-12-2013 at 07:22 AM.
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  2. #2
    Internal nebulae TheFifthElement's Avatar
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    They are not the same thing. The word 'interstice' means gap or space. The phenomena of crepuscular rays is an optical effect which occurs when the sun's light radiates through gaps, or interstices, in the clouds. The Cloud Appreciation Society has some great pictures of crepuscular rays which you can view on their website:

    Solstice refers to two specific days in the year at which the sun is at its highest or lowest point in the sky e.g. summer solstice / winter solstice. So not linked to interstices at all.
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  3. #3
    Translator Mohammad Ahmad's Avatar
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    2) is interstice the opposite of solstice?
    Solstice is the annual changing of sun orbit for two times:
    1- in 21 of June( the summer solstice)
    2- in 21 of December ( the winter solstice).
    The first one is the longest day and the second one is the shortest day in the year especially in the Middle East.
    For the Equatorial region it maybe has different time or it has not, really I am not sure.
    Last edited by Mohammad Ahmad; 11-12-2013 at 03:15 PM.
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