Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 24, 2015 - Ocean Tides

The storm was just starting when I went down to the shore, and my intention was to get some beautiful photos of the snow.  No one was around, of course, and I’d forgotten my cellphone once again.  Of course.  I thought I might walk along the beach for a bit, well, more like climb the cliffs of the beach for a bit, but the ocean thought otherwise and decided to foil my plans.  It appears the tide was at its zenith just as I arrived, and it didn’t look very friendly today.

Do you ever think about tides?  I think about them too much.  The Earth’s gravitational force pulls inward toward its center, and this keeps the ocean water confined to the surface.  But there are other forces out there.  The moon and the sun also have their own gravitational force and center of mass.  They also pull at the water and drag it right beneath their own celestial bodies.  Of course, the Earth isn’t standing still; it’s spinning and rotating, and so the pull of the celestial bodies (which are also spinning and revolving) changes position.  And that’s how we get tides.

High tide at Land's End, Bailey Island, Maine.

The positions of maximum attraction of combined lunar and solar gravitational forces cause a heaping action and give us a high tide.  A compensating maximum withdrawal of water from these positions gives us a low tide.  It goes back and forth, rather like a swinging pendulum.  This pendulum motion is caused by the daily rotation of the Earth.  Of course, the sun and the moon are not the only celestial bodies out there.  They just happen to be the closest celestial bodies, and so they have a readily identifiable effect on the Earth.  However, other celestial bodies do have an effect on the Earth and its tides but in a much more subtle way.

Over 50% of the human body is composed of water, men a little more so than women.  The brain and heart are composed of 73% water.  So if the Earth and the moon and the sun can have a push and a pull on the waters of the ocean, surely they can have a push and a pull on the water within us?  The effects are much more subtle, but make no mistake that they are there.  This is why many people take astrology very seriously, as well they should.  Yes, there’s a lot of quackery out there about it, but there is no denying that celestial bodies have an effect on us.  The question is, what effect?

I guess it’s a good thing, though, that there just happens to be a big lip right on the edge of the shore.  Otherwise, the tide would come in and just wash right over the whole Earth, and we can’t have that.  And just like the “big lip” of the shore, we humans have skin that helps to keep our own water in check.  Who knew we were so similar to our planet?  It’s almost as if we were made in its image.

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