Ireland won a pulsating Test against Australia to clinch victories over the'big three' southern hemisphere teams in the same year for the first time. Tries from Iain Henderson and Garry Ringrose helped the hosts to a 17-0 lead but the Wallabies fought back with three touchdowns to move into the lead. Keith Earls' score proved decisive but it was the Irish forwards who laid the platform in a breathless encounter. The result ended Australia's hopes of a Grand Slam over the home nations. They had defeated Wales, Scotland and France and will face England in the final match of their northern hemisphere tour next week.
If you see the Earth today, don't forget to wish it a happy aphelion -- July 3 marks the day this year when our planet reached the point in its orbit that is the farthest from the sun. Earth doesn't revolve around the center of the solar system in a perfect circle. Because its orbit is more elliptical, there is a point that is closest to the sun, the perihelion, and a point that is farthest, the aphelion. Perihelion occurred on January 4 this year, and in the six months since then, Earth has reached the other extreme in its orbit, as it continues its perpetual journey around the sun. Today, specifically at 4:11 p.m. EDT, the Earth reached 94.5 million miles away from our star.
On the 21st of June just before 5 p.m. AEST, Australians will bid farewell to the shortest day for the year, while those in the northern hemisphere will experience their longest day: SCIENCE! The June solstice marks the highest (northern summer) or lowest (southern winter) point that the sun sits in the sky relative to the equator, at noon of that day. The June solstice was traditionally used to mark the start of the winter months, but Australia flouts the laws of science and nature. Instead, it has its seasons affixed to the first day of the appropriate month, meaning winter begins on June 1. The coldest days therefore end up in the middle of July, and, you guessed it, the middle of the southern hemisphere winter.
December 21, 2016 --Daylight lovers in half the world can rejoice! While winter days in the Northern Hemisphere will get only colder in the coming months, sunset will occur later and later each day after Wednesday morning's solstice. Although the winter solstice is merely a date on the calendar to most modern humans, even those who are happy to begin marking time towards the long, warm days of summer, this date's historical celestial significance makes it remarkable in itself. Astronomically, the December solstice occurs as the sun reaches its southernmost point in the sky, which happened this year at 5:44 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, on Wednesday. Yet while this day marks the beginning of astronomical winter, scientists say that nothing much will change, weather-wise, at least in the short term.