Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice
winter solstice--wikimedia commons

Solstice greetings, gentle readers. The solstice on December 21 marks the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere, and the beginning of what we call astronomical winter.

It also means the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere, and summer  in Antarctica!

The solstice occurs at the same time  for everyone, everywhere on Earth. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice comes on December 21 at 11:11 a.m. CST, or  17:11 Universal Time.  The sun reaches its farthest southerly point for the year.

Here’s how Deborah Byrd at EarthSky explains it– “At the December solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that the sun stays below the north pole horizon. As seen from 23-and-a-half degrees south of the equator, at the imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Capricorn, the sun shines directly overhead at noon. This is as far south as the sun ever gets. All locations south of the equator have day lengths greater than 12 hours at the December solstice. Meanwhile, all locations north of the equator have day lengths less than 12 hours.”

The word solstice means sun-stilling.  It is as if the Sun stands still–that is, the movement of the Sun’s path (as seen from Earth) seems to come to a stop before reversing direction.

Is it any wonder people built bonfires, and Stonehenge?

After the December solstice, we will begin to see more light. Yes, even in the coldest days of winter, we will see a little more light every day. Meanwhile, in Australia and Antarctica, as summer begins, the days begin to grow shorter.

This is the rhythm of our tilting world, the changing days and seasons– solstices and equinoxes. Our human calendars count down to New Year’s Eve, but a new cycle has already begun, in our continuing journey around the sun…..

Love, Light and Peace to all!


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  • I love it around the first of the year. You can tell the days are getting longer. I smell Spring....well maybe that's a little optimistic

  • Thank you, Howard! Yes, I think you can smell spring, too. Even today, in the mist and drizzle, and another winter storm on the way....

  • Nice post, WG. EarthSky---one of my favorites. BTW, as I write, that storm seems to have missed us in Oak Lawn. Whew!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    How kind of you, AW. Thank you. So glad you stopped by to celebrate the solstice. I wonder if there was a huge crowd at Stonehenge?

    Yes, rain and meltdown in Oak Park, too. I think we dodged a bullet this time--very bad ice storm and freezing rain in the Northeast.

    Really enjoyed your post on Mr.Disraeli. Very deep and thoughtful discussion--both you and 4zen.

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