Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sites : Tropic of Cancer Monument @ Chiayi Taiwan (嘉義北回歸線標誌)

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Tropic of Cancer Monument @ Chiayi Taiwan (嘉義北回歸線標誌)

Shuishang Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan - October 2017
In Taiwan there are several monuments and markers indicating key geographical points such as the Tropic of Cancer and the earth's tectonic plates fault lines. We visited the Tropic of Cancer Monument at Chiayi County while on a cycling tour of Taiwan. There is another Tropic of Cancer Monument in Ruisui which we would visit later on during our tour.

The location of the monument is easily identifiable. Along Freeway 1 of Taiwan's National Highway between Chiayi City and Shuishang Township, a long red gentry beam arches over the road; this marks the latitude of the Tropic of Cancer at 23°26′13.0″ (or 23.43695°) north of the Equator. The monument and its park lies east of this highway.

Also at this position (on the side of the road opposite the monument) is a large red circle marker. The Tropic of Cancer which marks the latitude that divides the tropics from the temperate lands passes through the center of the circle. At the base are two brass plates with two footprints, one on each side of the latitude. One can stand with a foot each on these footprints; Jump to one side and "Hey, I am in the tropics!"; jump to the other side and "Gosh! I am in the temperate lands!".

This is the conspicuous building that marks the Tropic of Cancer. It is actually called the Tropic of Cancer Solar Exploration Center (北回歸線太陽館).
The latitude is called the Tropic of Cancer (also called the Northern Tropic) as when it was named some 2,000 years ago, the Sun was in the constellation Cancer (Latin for crab) at the June solstice, the time each year that the Sun reaches its zenith at this latitude. It is the most northerly circle of latitude on Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead.

There is a large park in front of the Tropic of Cancer Solar Exploration Center; a shaded archway leads to the building.

In the park grounds are several sculptures attributed to astronomy, the above is that of the earth showing it at the center of the universe as believed by early astronomers.

A sculpture with spheres of different sizes, are these stylized representation of the different planets of the Solar System?

Another view of the "Solar System" sculpture.

Most interesting is this Titan II rocket that was used to launch the Gemini capsules of the Gemini space program.

A bottom view of the rocket, showing it's double rocket boosters.

Somewhere in the park is this granite cube with a marker; we assumed it marks the Tropic of Cancer; stood there to leave our footprints behind.

This Tropic of Cancer Monument at Chiayi was originally built in the 34th year of Guangxu Emperor reign, i.e. in 1908 the year of his demise. The current building was completed in 1995.
There are two other Tropic of Cancer monuments in Taiwan, one at Ruishui and the other at Fengbin.

21-25, Gexiliao, Shuishang Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan 608.
Hours- Indoor Exhibition: 9:00am to 5:00pm     |     Night light show: 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Entry fee: Free
Website: https://www.tbocc.gov.tw/SightLib/Sight
GPS: 23.45462, 120.41697
(Click here for Google Street View)

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