21 December 2009

21st December



A miraculous event is happening in this part of the universe today: the winter solstice. The sun will return to the North [yeah right] and Winter will change into Spring. At 5.47pm the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun, so that all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight. For an observer in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight for those living north of the Tropic of Cancer. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

Today's picture is "Winter Solstice Circle" by Richard Long (2002). Made of white Rhone Valley river stones and green Marmorera. More of Long's land art can be seen at www.therichardlongnewsletter.org 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't know about in Woking, but here in Kent, we're experiencing winter at the moment, and the first day of spring will be 21st March. Geometrically, the winter solstice should mark deepest winter, but the thermal mass of the environment causes a phase lag, which is also why it is hotter in August than June (I made that bit up). For more made up facts, see
some dubious stuff about winter