First Dawn in Antarctica Says Navy

First light will be at a glacier no one has visited in years

The US Navy has chimed in with its vote on where the first sunrise of the Year 2000 will take place and it's not from space. According to the US Naval Observatory (USNO), the first light of the first sunrise of 2000 will occur just after midnight on the Dibble Glacier on the Antarctic coastline. In fact, the Navy says the first sunset will occur just after midnight followed by the first sunrise a few minutes later.

The prediction stakes a new claim in the hot competition to greet the first light of 2000. No one is thought to have been near the Dibble Glacier for years, and there seems to be no plans to go. But, if the Navy's prediction holds up, it presents the possibility of someone going to the Dibble Glacier and rightfully claim to be the first person to stand on the earth and see the first sunrise of 2000.

Some adventurers will be at the geographic South Pole, where, in the 24-hour daylight, being first to see the light of 2000 will simply involve blinking as you walk around the pole on the stroke of midnight.

In calculating where the sun will rise first, the USNO says there are two important lines: the dateline, and the terminator line or boundary between day and night. After the terminator line sweeps up across the Southern Hemisphere from the south and east on New Year's Eve, the USNO says, "the first place in Antarctica west of the International Dateline where the sun can rise on January 1, 2000, is on the headland between the Dibble Glacier and Victor Bay."

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the USNO prediction is supported by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London but rejected by the Royal Geographic Society as being "only an apparent sunrise".

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

DATE: 8/25/99

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