My friend and ex-CAVE co-employee, Tom Bemis pointed out by e-mail (and we later spoke on the phone) that I was misleading you readers with what I said about the Shaft of Light so I asked him to explain it so that I could update the 3/26 post. Of course, he did, and of course, he did a good job. Here is what he sent me earlier today.
For the shaft of light to occur in the Twilight Zone area, the sun must be in a narrow range of positions in the sky. It is much like trying to shine a light down a pipe. The light must be perfectly aligned with the pipe for the light to shine to the bottom.In the case of the Cavern, the cave entrance faces west. Only in the late afternoon will the sunlight shine into the entrance. In addition, during most of the year the sun is too far south. Instead of shining down the entrance, the late afternoon light hits the northern wall of the upper levels of the entrance. As summer equinox approaches, the sunlight starts moving down the northern wall and eventually starts to shine directly down the mouth of the cave. This light, reflecting off the condensation in the very moist air rising out of the cavern, produces the spectacular "shaft of light". Conditions for this phenomenon are right for a short period in the late afternoon of each day for several weeks during each summer.
Submitted by Tom Bemis
Tom is a cave explorer of long standing, a person who bands birds and bird expert, a bat expert, and, in general, a man who understands science knowledge many levels beyond the level that most of us understand it . At CAVE, most of us employees, past and present, have had to opportunity to meet celebrities. One celebrity that I met in the Big Room was Bill Nye the Science Guy. Boy what I would given to witness a conversation between Bill Nye and Tom Bemis!
Bill Nye the Science Guy at Wikipedia
Tom is also a search and rescue instructor/expert--in caves and out.
He has much first-hand knowledge of CAVE history and a number of the participants. He has nearly thirty years of CAVE working experience and, in my opinion, one of the most bizarre, original, and refreshing senses of humor of anyone that I know of.
I am basing that last statement on how much that he has made me laugh over the years.
Did I mention that he is also one of the friendliest and likable people who you might want to bump into?