Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

A Winter Solstice Ritual For Reflection & Release

5 Things You May Not Know About the Winter Solstice
            
             
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Grady Vargas | 22 December, 2017, 02:14

Google's winter solstice 2017 animation. "Around the time of the December solstice, it's your longest noontime shadow of the year".

This year, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will begin on Thursday, December 21 at 5:28 ET in the USA, or 16:28 UTC. While it's winter for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, people in the Southern Hemisphere experience it as their summer solstice with the longest stretch of daylight.

The Sun is directly overhead at "high-noon" on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.

Fáilte Ireland and the Office of Public Works have teamed up for the broadcast on the shortest day of the year. Conversely, at the equinoxes, the Earth takes slightly less than 24 hours to make a complete rotation.

The term solstice literally means "sun stands still". On average, the Earth needs to rotate an extra four minutes each day to realign itself to the noonday Sun. This astronomical quirk happens because of Earth's 23.5-degree tilt and our elliptical orbit around the sun. Eastern on December 21.

Why isn't the winter solstice on the same day each year?

On the 21st the Sun pauses in this the longest night of the year. As we begin to leave the time of darkness and gradually return to longer, brighter days, it's also a time to think more gratefully about darkness, the rich fecund darkness out of which all life is born.

A Winter Solstice Ritual For Reflection & Release
A Winter Solstice Ritual For Reflection & Release

It's no wonder that when the Earth reached that point in time during the long, cold nights of winter, when the shortest day was reached, the ancients rejoiced and held great celebrations.

We lose about two minutes of daylight a day, and by December 21 the sun is up for only nine hours and 27 minutes.

This delay in the arrival of our coldest temperatures is better known as seasonal lag.

You may have noticed the sun deeper toward the southern horizon through the fall.

In parts of northern Alaska, "sunset" lasts about 67 days - starting November 18 and ending January 23.

Every year, people flock to the ancient monument in Wiltshire, England, to watch the sunrise during the winter solstice, when the structure is directly aligned toward the sun.

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