The Latest Sunset Point 1/2
Picture 1 . It is night in the shadow of the earth
I meet Keith Blond one day before New Year's Eve in 1999 at Cowaramup Bay, West Australia. The farmer from this area claims, the lookout over Gracetown is the Latest Sunset Point: From here one can see the latest sunset on the Australian continent in this millenium. Because of this Keith organizes a millenium party on this lookout. There is only a little problem: The local media doesn't believe the theory of the farmer. In their opinion the Latest Sunset Point lies 1000 kilometers far in the north at the Shark Bay (the most western point of Australia).
Keith was lucky because he has met the right man punctually before the party. I was lucky too because I had discovered an interesting problem! SkyMap is installed on my laptop. I also have a GPS in my camper. With the astronomy software and exact coordinates I can check the theory of Keith Blond within a quarter hour. This man says the truth! The sun sets to New Year's Eve at 19:34 hour at the lookout over the Cowaramup Bay (33° 51.443' S; 114° 59.211' E).
A similar time
applies to Augusta, 50 kilometers southeast from here. But the
sunset on the Shark Bay is 12 minutes earlier.
Keith, the Sunset Man, is enthusiastic. He hoists the Australian flag on the lookout. More then 50 people watch to New Year's Eve how the sun on 19:34 hour sinks in the Indian Ocean. A great party then gets celebrated and the new millenium is welcomed. Weeks after this I meet Keith and his family in Busselton. We talk about farming, history of Cowaramup, Astronomy. I learn to know his lively daughter Penelope, who sits in a wheel-chair. I don't come onto the idea to look for the exact Latest Sunset Point.
I remain with Penny about e-mail in contact also when I'm on travel in North America. I write to her at the end of the year 2001: Wanting to remember to New Year's Eve melancholy, that Keith will organize a party on the lookout again to see the latest sunset. After the party Penny wrote me, that the South-West Astronomy Society still has problems with the final sunset.
Now woke up
my hunting instinct again: This problem must finally be solved
exactly! After a long night I have some beautiful pictures on
my monitor and the thing is clear:
The sun projected
a shadow on the earth. The front of this shadow points, where
and when the sun sets. All sunsets lie onto this line.