Q&A: Questions to Start the New Year

The graphic is “Father Time and Baby New Year” from Frolic & Fun (author unknown), published in 1897. Father Time was one of the earliest New Year icons among dozens now used in the media. I needed some kind of graphic for today’s post, and this one seemed on-topic. Click to see the full-size version.

First, Happy New Year to my readers! This time of year, every year, I get a lot of the same questions. So I thought I’d present you with a “year-end FAQ” of sorts showcasing those common queries. As a bonus, I get a brief vacation from writing over the holidays. The posts I selected are all reprints.

So pick and choose what interests you, or settle in and read them all — if you haven’t already. I bid you peace and health for the holidays and beyond. May all your night lights be billions of miles away.

Why the Year Starts on January 1st: This is a frequently asked question. The answer is simple.
Why There Are Leap Years
: Why do some years (like 2020) have 366 days and others (like 2021) have 365 days?

Leap Seconds: On December 31 scientists add “leap seconds” to the official time. Why do they do that?
The Winter Solstice: It happened in December, but was there anything to actually see when it happened?
Buying and Naming Your Own Star: Did someone buy you a star for Christmas? Is this for real? Is it legal?
Earth at Perihelion: You may have heard Earth will reach perihelion on January 3-4. So what?

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If you’re looking for more reading material I’d suggest another series of posts. These address various impacts of climate change. Over the last few years I’ve been getting many questions on that topic. These posts will bring you up to date on the science of climatology.

The difference Between Weather and Climate – Part 1: Any student of climate change needs to start here.
The difference Between Weather and Climate – Part 2: There is a significant difference.
The difference Between Weather and Climate – Part 3: Now you know.
Anatomy of a Storm Surge: Why hurricanes are getting worse.
If All Earth’s Ice Melted: What would the world look like?
Wind Power is Inexhaustible: Don’t believe what you hear about wind power.
Thermal Expansion and Sea Level Rise – Part 1: Hot water gets bigger.
Thermal Expansion and Sea Level Rise – Part 2: Hotter water gets bigger faster.
The Gravity of Melting Glaciers: Horizontal gravity resists sea level rise — until the glacier melts.
Ocean Surge vs. Mississippi River: What happens when hurricanes overwhelm rivers.
How Glaciers Melt: Watch a glacier in Greenland feeding sea level rise.
Nuking a Hurricane: Why this wouldn’t work.
Climate 100 Years From Now: My predictions.
Great Lakes Water Levels – Part 1: Strange happenings in the Midwest.
Great Lakes Water Levels – Part 2: Is this the new normal?

Next week we’ll be back to our usual single-topic format for Sky Lights. Our first post of the New Year will investigate a “mystery mountain” that’s only occasionally visible.

Next Week in Sky Lights ⇒ What Mountain Is That?

Q&A: Santa's Sleigh Sighted?
What Mountain Is That?

2 comments on “Q&A: Questions to Start the New Year”

  1. Thank very very much Sir,First of all may l wish you happy new year too but l dont really know where is your standing between different paspective of new year cellebration but in some other fact as the scholars we have to argue for because sometime we are supposed to ask ourself many question as those that give you thirsty to chalenge where is new year from the history? For sure you always widen my mind on different articles that your always write because my self l was always ask my self lot of question but now you make my futere bright with no such doubt.
    Send many regards to your family especilly your wife, and your chidren and grandson
    From your young astromer from Africa Tanzania.

    1. And thank you sir. Once a teacher, always a teacher. I’m happy to have helped your understanding of what the “New Year” really means. And we could all use a new year right now. 🙂 Happy holiday season to you and yours. -Dan Heim

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