Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter Solstice - the Shortest Day of the Year

Winter Solstice - the Shortest Day of the Year
Kim @ Kids Matter
Winter or December solstice is coming to the northern hemisphere.   The December Solstice is when the earth is nearest to the sun and moving in its fastest orbit.  It is the time when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon.

The word solstice comes from the Latin word “sol” meaning (sun) and “sistere” meaning (to stand still). During the solstices, the sun stands still as it moves down the seasonal movement of the sun's path (as seen from Earth) comes to a stop before reversing direction. At that time the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun.

A solstice occurs twice each year as the sun reaches its highest or lowest position, relative to the equator.  As a result, on the day of the solstice, the sun looks to have reached its highest or lowest point in the sky at noon, i.e., solar noon.

Time is measured as mid-day to the next mid-day which most of us do not know.  Days are counted by the earth’s spin and they are never exactly 24 hours.  Solar noon changes with the seasons.

The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year.  In 2012, the December solstice coincided with the end of the Mayan Calendar.  Many saw this as a prophecy of the end of the world.  We are still here and the winter solstice will be 12:11 p.m. EST Saturday, December 21.  The sun will be in the lowest point in the sky for the year and winter begins.  On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north (Arctic Polar Circle) are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south (Antarctic Polar Circle) receive 24 hours of daylight.

Las Vegas Guardian Express

No comments:

Post a Comment