Dancing bees and the position of the sun

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Hello!
I have a question regarding the position of the sun in the sky.
Since it depends on where you are, I am thinking of the Northern hemisphere above the Tropic of Cancer. Say, Northern Europe, Canada, etc.
As the sun moves across the sky, at noon the sun is often referred to as being directly overhead (during certain times of the year). Indeed, it looks as though it is, and shadows seem to suggest that this is the case. However, this would require the suns rays to be perpendicular with the surface of the earth in these regions. From my reading, I believe that this is never the case.
I ask this because I was reading about dancing bees: bees communicate where pollen is to there friends by dancing. They dance inside the hive on a vertical 'column'. The vertical upwards refers to the position of the sun, and if the bee dances at some angle, say x, to the left of this vertical, it indicates that the pollen is in the direction of angle x, left from the sun in the horizontal plane. In other words, a bee may go outside the hive and face in the direction of the sun. The sun may be up in the sky, not on the horizon, but a line could be drawn, vertically, from the sun onto the horizon, and the location of the pollen would be x degrees to the left of this line. I hope that makes sense.
Now, if the sun is 'directly above', the bee will not be able to establish a bearing. So I was wondering, is the sun ever going to be directly above? I don't think so. But can anyone help with this?
Many thanks!
 

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  • #2
Borek
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What is a tropic of cancer? Tropic of capricorn?
 
  • #3
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Hello!
I have a question regarding the position of the sun in the sky..
...So I was wondering, is the sun ever going to be directly above? I don't think so. But can anyone help with this?
Many thanks!
Would the bees be able to exclude the sun being direct in zenith? Just take a ball and put it under a light bulb. Notice that there is always one particular point on the ball that is perpendicular under the light bulb, seeing it exactly under an angle of 90 degrees. Same with earth and the sun. There is always one point like that.


What is a tropic of cancer? Tropic of capricorn?
Hmmm I remember the tropic of crayfish :smile:
 
  • #4
Borek
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:rofl: I had to google to check what it was.
 
  • #5
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Here it is:

:rofl:

What a mess. In Polish we call it Zwrotnik Raka - which should be translated as Tropic of Crayfish. Rak means also cancer (disease). Every sea crustacean with huge pincers is a krab (crab). So for me what I saw was a crab and in no way linked to the cancer.

Funny, that's similar situation I had some time ago with siren and mermaid.
On the tropic of crayfish :)
 
  • #6
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Thanks for the responses everyone.

Would the bees be able to exclude the sun being direct in zenith? Just take a ball and put it under a light bulb. Notice that there is always one particular point on the ball that is perpendicular under the light bulb, seeing it exactly under an angle of 90 degrees. Same with earth and the sun. There is always one point like that.
That's why I tried to limit the areas I was considering. Because there will be points perpendicular to the sun. I'm pretty sure that anything North of the Tropic of Cancer, or South of the Tropic of Capricorn would not recieve light directly overhead (would not be perpendicular to the light source.
I was wondering if anyone is familiar with these concepts, and whether there is any issue with bee dancing at noon (it makes it sound like it's banned due to being immoral!).
 
  • #7
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Thanks for the responses everyone.

That's why I tried to limit the areas I was considering. Because there will be points perpendicular to the sun. I'm pretty sure that anything North of the Tropic of Cancer, or South of the Tropic of Capricorn would not recieve light directly overhead (would not be perpendicular to the light source.
Exactly, it's also the definition of the tropix

tropic (either of two parallels of latitude about 23.5 degrees to the north and south of the equator representing the points farthest north and south at which the sun can shine directly overhead and constituting the boundaries of the Torrid Zone or tropics)
I was wondering if anyone is familiar with these concepts, and whether there is any issue with bee dancing at noon (it makes it sound like it's banned due to being immoral!).
I'm familiar with the ideas about the http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/apiculture/PDF%20files/1.11.pdf [Broken] but I have no idea if this element has been researched and whether or not this idea is based on enough trials and data. Maybe that there are specialists in the biology forum hall.
 
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