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 The shortest day - Winter Solstice

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Irene
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PostSubject: The shortest day - Winter Solstice   Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:57 am

    cold       stormy       sun

What does 'solstice' mean?

The term 'solstice' derives from the Latin word 'solstitium', meaning 'Sun standing still'.

On this day, the Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction as it reaches its southernmost position as seen from the Earth.

Some prefer the more teutonic term 'sunturn' to descibe the event.

 

What exactly is the winter solstice?

The December solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth. This year the solstice occurs on Wednesday December 21st at 10:44 GMT (Universal time).

The winter solstice happens every year when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted farthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year.

The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December solstice and is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year, meaning shorter days and longer nights.

The shortest day of the year lasts for 7 hours 49 minutes and 41 seconds in Britain.  This day is 8 hours, 49 minutes shorter than on June Solstice.

The day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite is true. Dawn comes early, and dusk comes late. The sun is high and the shortest noontime shadow of the year happens there. In the Southern Hemisphere, people will experience their longest day and shortest night.

While it more often than not falls on December 21st, the exact time of the solstice varies each year.

In the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, because it is tilted away from the sun, and receives the least amount of sunlight on that day.

However, the earliest sunset does not occur on the solstice, because of the slight discrepancy between 'solar time' and the clocks we use.

The shortest day of the year often falls on December 21st, but the modern calendar of 365 days a year - with an extra day every four years - does not correspond exactly to the solar year of 365.2422 days.

The solstice can happen on December 20, 21, 22 or 23, though December 20 or 23 solstices are rare.

The last December 23 solstice was in 1903 and will not happen again until 2303.

More information here:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/christmas/0/winter-solstice-2016-shortest-day-year-time/

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AlanHo
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PostSubject: Re: The shortest day - Winter Solstice   Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:17 am

Nice reminder Irene - the thought that the days now get longer is cheering.

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PostSubject: Re: The shortest day - Winter Solstice   Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:07 am

I know who the shortest Knight is, Sir Gordon Richards. drum

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PostSubject: Re: The shortest day - Winter Solstice   Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:42 am

Gandalph wrote:
I know who the shortest Knight is, Sir Gordon Richards. drum

Clever clogs - but I liked it................ sun

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PostSubject: Re: The shortest day - Winter Solstice   Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:53 am

I don't mind the long nights, I like to sit warm and snug with the lamps on ... very cosy !
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PostSubject: Re: The shortest day - Winter Solstice   Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:05 pm

It's nice to snuggle in but I do prefer the lighter nights. Roll on spring when I get and potter in my garden again.
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PostSubject: Re: The shortest day - Winter Solstice   Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:39 pm

malcolm wrote:
I don't mind the long nights, I like to sit warm and snug with the lamps on ... very cosy !

Romantic, or what?



sags wrote:
It's nice to snuggle in but I do prefer the lighter nights. Roll on spring when I get and potter in my garden again.

Me too.  I think I must suffer from SADS Sydrome. 
Nothing finer than sitting in the garden on a warm evening with at least one bottle of 'sun-downer'. 

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