Is sunrise a photographic cliché or a natural wonder? I hope the latter because no matter how many photos we take – good, bad and indifferent – each new dawn is unique and a miracle in itself. In this picture, the sun is rising over Stromness in Orkney. I watched it with my friend Crispin, who sagely commented that, although so much has changed in the course of time, this moment is what we still have in common with our most ancient ancestors.
Sunrise or sun up is the instant at which the upper edge of the Sun appears over the horizon in the morning. The term can also refer to the entire process of the Sun crossing the horizon and its accompanying atmospheric effects. Although the Sun appears to “rise” from the horizon, it is actually the Earth’s motion that causes the Sun to appear. The illusion of a moving Sun results from Earth observers being in a rotating reference frame. This apparent motion is so convincing that most cultures had mythologies and religions built around the geocentric model. These prevailed until astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus first formulated the heliocentric model in the 16th century.