- Here's a mind bender. A woman 5 ft 6 1/2 in tall is walking on open ground at 500feet. Her shadow is 112ft6in long. It's 14 September in northern hemisphere. What time is it?
which gives an answer of 2.78 degrees. The sun goes all the way round - 360o - the earth in 24 hours or 1440 minutes. Throwing the shadow in question, the sun is 2.78/360 * 1440 = 11 minutes before sunset. Which was at 19.24 on the day and at the place where the experiment was carried out.
This is an example of where the calculations are extremely sensitive to the stated conditions. Not in a chaos-theory sense where Hurricane Irma is triggered by a herd of locusts throwing up dust in Mauritania which blows out to sea in a wisp of a vortex. But if you think about it, the angle subtended by my sisters head a moment before sunset is infinitely small and her shadow is infinitely long. Thus a one minute difference about that time will make a huge difference in the shadow length and therefore [what we are driving at] the estimate of what the time is. As it was, I was ten minutes adrift in my estimate.
Shadowfax is the name of Gandalf's horse and has nothing to do with this at all.