A painting I did yesterday. It began as a black half sphere at the bottom right of the frame and became this eventually
Breaking dawn and falling dusk* are such lovely ways of experiencing Earth’s rotation. Dawn and dusk and everything else in terms of the way sunlight changes its appearance is specific to a celestial body in this particular solar system; Earth, in our case. There are hundreds of billions of solar systems, which may or may not be anything like ours, with their own versions of day and night. Of course, there is no sunrise or sunset in space the way we define them because they are both experiences unique to the shape, distance and rotation of any body in the universe relative to the brightest object in its vicinity. Notwithstanding this knowledge, it is always a glorious experience what we earthlings with quaint inaccuracy call sunrise and sunset. I say inaccuracy because there is really nothing rising or setting other than from our vantage points in the solar system relative to the sun, the brightest object in our vicinity.
Being an early riser (again a misnomer because I don’t know what early riser really means in the grand cosmic scheme) I routinely experience our sky getting ever so subtly illuminated. It is like a cosmic brush of photons sweeping over our horizon from mauve to orange to yellow to finally just white glare. As the dusk falls, the order of the colors of sunlight seems to be reversed from white to yellow to orange to mauve. Once again, this experience is specific and unique to Earth simply because each celestial body will have its own combination of different hues depending on the constitution of its atmosphere, it axis, its position in relation to the sun and so on. For instance, the lunar sky looks mostly black because there is no atmosphere to give it the kind of breathtaking resplendence that we experience everyday.
Inevitably, all such experiences bring me back to the lifelong realization that reality depends entirely on who you are and where you are. I can only approximately guess whether your reality is the same as or even largely similar to mine. It certainly feels so intuitively when it comes to larger realities such as sunrise or sunset within reasonably geographical proximity. We must all be conscious that there is no overarching reality that is common to us all. It is determined by so many other factors. The best we can do is to look for shared approximation. If all this sounds strange, you may blame it on the occasional dizziness that Earth’s rotation of about 1700 km per hour (about 100 miles per hour) relative to its axis causes in me. We forget that that’s how fast we all move at any given moment. We do not feel it because it is a constant movement. We are forever getting flung but since that is built into us we do not seem to be discomforted by it.
* Why must dawn break and dusk fall? I don’t know.