What sparked the writing of this blog is that today is the 1st of September, known as Spring Day here in South Africa. Our friends and family in the Northern Hemisphere are coming to the end of their summer, moving into autumn, while here the flowers are blooming, the days are getting longer and the temperatures are on the rise again. Obviously things are a little different here…
But how different is it really? Here is a list of the 4 (or should it be 5?) most notable things which are unlike what you may be used to:
- At its highest point during the day the sun sits in the north. Being relatively close to the equator during mid-summer the sun seems to be right above your head and it is difficult to see. But any other time of the year, when you face the sun at midday you’re facing north. Good thing to remember if you’re ever planning to buy property here: ‘north-facing’ is a positive element and means your house will be nice and warm, also in winter;
- You can see the Southern Cross! Many people are amazed by the abundance of stars visible here in the Southern Hemisphere, and want to find out more of what they see. The easiest stars (and planets) to spot are Venus (also known as the Evening Star, even though it’s a planet…), Orion with its belt and the Southern Cross, indicating true South;
- The seasons are ‘the other way around’: Spring starts in September, our Summer is at its height in December through to February, followed by Autumn and Winter in June, July. Think summer holidays in December and Christmas on the beach;
- The moon looks different. Because the moon orbits near the equator, in the Southern Hemisphere we’re looking at the ‘other side’ of the moon compared to in the Northern Hemisphere. What it means is that after New Moon (or no moon, basically), in the Northern Hemisphere the moons waxes from the ‘right’, looking like a growing D. Here in the Southern Hemisphere it waxes from the ‘left’, looking like a growing C. Makes sense?!;
- And may be the fifth one: water drains counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere?! There is a common belief that this is true, but I wonder what happens when you live on the equator? Scientists have not been able to confirm, and say water in basins, toilets and bathtubs can drain any particular way, both in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.
The first 4 Things which are Different in the Southern Hemisphere are easy to see once you are here, the 5th one you will have to do some research to see how your water drains before you come and check it out in our hemisphere!