Mike Simmons


I had a chance to experience the differences in the seasons directly, having just returned from a meeting at the International Astronomical Union's new Office of Astronomy for Development in Cape Town, South Africa.  Leaving my home in southern California at 34 degrees north latitude, I found myself at close to 34 degrees south.  So as well as the 10-hour time change, I also went from the summer solstice to the winter solstice -- longest day of the year to the shortest.  And by coincidence, Cape Town has the same type of climate - Mediterranean - which exists in only a few places in the world.  The plants were all familiar to me; most of our garden plants come from South Africa and everything was similar, even when slightly different.  There was more than a little difference in animals the zebra and baboons I saw in South Africa aren't found roaming about in California.  But the most amazing experience for me was that it felt so much like home in so many ways except for the season.  I quickly get used to the time differences caused by changes in longitude, but I had trouble getting used to the sense that I had been transported six months ahead to a southern California late spring, with warm weather and the Sun almost overhead at noon.  It was great, but coming back to very short days, cold and rain was pretty depressing!


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    About Me

    I'm president of Astronomers Without Borders.


    Location:Calabasas, CA
    United States of America (the)