|The power of geometry
||[Jun. 17th, 2009|07:59 pm]
So like I said the other day, my friend Peter presented me with a problem when we had lunch. At first I thought it was some kind of complicated optics problem, but as I thought about it, I realized it's just geometry. And fairly simple geometry, at that. I thought I'd share, because the answer is a kind of neat "hooray for science!" puzzle. (Plus, well, I wanna let other people double-check my thinking -- just to make sure I'm not being dumb...)|
Also, I will get to use the word 'penumbra'.
Anyway, Peter works in solar, and when you're putting solar panels up, you want them to be in the sun, not in the shade. Now, an object that's far away is going to block less light than one that's close up, right? Eventually it gets so small it doesn't block the sun at all. So the question is, what's the equation that describes how much clearance you need to minimize your energy loss?
And the answer is: it doesn't matter, actually. ( Beware, trigonometry behind the cut!Collapse )
Isn't that interesting? Hooray for math!