Winter Solstice

winter_solstice_at_stonehenge

Winter inspires both joy and woe. Some people can’t wait for the cooler weather, snow, skiing and ice skating, curling up by a fire, and the holiday spirit. Other people dislike the frigid temperatures, blizzards, and wild weather.

The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day. At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.

Winter solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs around December 21 or 22. In the Southern Hemisphere, around June 20 or 21.

Information from The Farmers’ Almanac.

Author: irenefitz

Retired teacher and silver surfer. x

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