December 21st Is Winter Solstice
Today is Winter Solstice!
Ever wondered about Winter Solstice? Solstice is derived from the Latin terms sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). This is because at the solstice, the Sun’s apparent north-south movement stops and the sun stands still in declination.
As the earth obits the sun, due to the tilt of the earth’s axis, the north-south position of the sun changes relative to the earth. On Winter Solstice, the earth is at a point in its orbit where the northern hemisphere is at its maximum tilt away from the sun. The sun appears at its southernmost point, over the Tropic of Capricorn, roughly 23.5 degrees south of the earth’s equator. It is this combination of factors that gives us in the northern hemisphere the longest night and shortest day of the year. At the same time, the southern hemisphere is having its Summer Solstice.
Ancient humans in a variety of cultures marked the Winter Solstice and other sun and moon-based events. For more information about the ancient cultural aspects of solstice, see here.
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