This New Year lark never fails to amuse me.
There are going to be massive celebrations worldwide tonight.
My point is that there is nothing at all remarkable about midnight tonight. There is no invisible signpost in space to mark this particular point in the Earth’s orbit. In fact there is no way of determining when a new years starts except by some arbitrary figure on a calendar.
We know that the Earth takes roughly 365.25 days to orbit the Sun and that’s fair enough, but the orbit is a circle, and the circumference of a circle has no beginning or end. You can only measure a circumference by picking a point at random and measuring around from that.
Many cultures have different calendars and celebrate their new year at a totally different point. Who is to say that they are correct and our culture is wrong? Or vice versa?
Basically what the celebrations are about is that the calendar hanging on the kitchen wall has suddenly become redundant and has to be replaced with a new one. Nothing else will change so maybe we are all just celebrating the purchase of new calendars and diaries?
Of course there is one way of fixing a point in space without argument. All the have to do is determine the precise number of years [or microseconds?] since the Big Bang, and start from there. That is theoretically the starting point of the Earth’s orbit.
Now why didn’t the scientists think of that?
And for the sake of custom – Happy New[?] Year everyone!