Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Solstice

At the time of Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun's daily path across the sky has reached its furthest point south and its lowest altitude above the horizon. This occurs every year around December 21-22. The sun will slowly start to appear to head back north now, bringing us longer days and shorter nights.

The pic immediately below was taken at sunset, at the Winter Solstice. Compared to the other pics in our series, you can really see how far the sun's path has moved from North to South over the last 6 months. The palm trees are a bit taller, too ;-).

All pictures taken facing west.

Sunset at Winter Solstice - December 21, 2012

Sunset at Autumnal Equinox - September 22, 2012

Sunset at Summer Solstice - June 20, 2012

The time of Winter Solstice has been an important event in cultures throughout human history. Early astronomers watched the celestial movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars. They knew that Winter Solstice marked the seasonal end of long nights and the eventual return of longer, warmer days.

Many celebrations worldwide recognized the Winter Solstice as a time of rebirth, the victory of light over darkness, and the return of the sun. These celebrations often included the lighting of candles or bonfires, special songs and ceremonies, and much feasting with special foods for the occasion. Holiday traditions nowadays reflect many of these earlier practices. Our traditional Christmas celebration fits right in.

"I don't really celebrate Christmas. I celebrate Festivus."
~ George, on Seinfeld, "The Strike" (1997)

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