Solstice

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
UTC Date and Time of solstices and equinoxes
year Equinox
Mar
Solstice
June
Equinox
Sept
Solstice
Dec
day time day time day time day time
2004 20 06:49 21 00:57 22 16:30 21 12:42
2005 20 12:33 21 06:46 22 22:23 21 18:35
2006 20 18:26 21 12:26 23 04:03 22 00:22
2007 21 00:07 21 18:06 23 09:51 22 06:08
2008 20 05:48 20 23:59 22 15:44 21 12:04
2009 20 11:44 21 05:45 22 21:18 21 17:47
2010 20 17:32 21 11:28 23 03:09 21 23:38
2011 20 23:21 21 17:16 23 09:04 22 05:30
2012 20 05:14 20 23:09 22 14:49 21 11:11
2013 20 11:02 21 05:04 22 20:44 21 17:11
2014 20 16:57 21 10:51 23 02:29 21 23:03
2015 20 22:45 21 16:38 23 08:20 22 04:48
2016 20 04:30 20 22:34 22 14:21 21 10:44
2017 20 10:28 21 04:24 22 20:02 21 16:28

A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole. The day of the solstice is either the "longest day of the year" or the "shortest day of the year" for any place on Earth, because the length of time between sunrise and sunset on that day is the yearly maximum or minimum for that place. The name is derived from the Latin words sol (“sun”) and sistere (“to stand still”). During the solstice, the Sun stands still; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun's path comes to a stop before reversing direction. The “Northern Solstice” occurs in June, when the sun is at its highest point seen from the North Pole. The “Southern Solstice” occurs in December, when the sun is at its highest point seen from the South Pole.

The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some cultures they mark either the beginning or the middle of summer and winter.

A solargraph taken from the Atacama Desert in the southern hemisphere. This is a long-exposure photograph, with the image exposed facing north for six months from December 2009 until the June 2010 solstice.[1] The sun's path across the sky each day from sunrise to sunset is seen from right to left in this image; the path of the following day runs a little lower, until the day of the winter solstice, whose path is the lowest one in the image. Credit: ESO/R. Fosbury/T. Trygg/D. Rabanus.

June solstice[change | change source]

The June Solstice happens when the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth is tilted toward the Sun and the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth is tilted away from the Sun. At the North Pole, the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky, and then begins moving lower. At the moment of the June solstice, the Sun is directly overhead some point on the Tropic of Cancer; this is the furthest north that the subsolar point ever reaches. In the Northern Hemisphere the June solstice is called the Summer Solstice (and marks the longest day of the year), while in the Southern Hemisphere it is called the Winter Solstice (and marks the shortest day of the year). The June Solstice is usually on June 21.

December solstice[change | change source]

The December Solstice happens when the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth is tilted toward the Sun and the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth is tilted away from the Sun. At the South Pole, the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky, and then begins moving lower. At the moment of the December solstice, the Sun is directly overhead some point on the Tropic of Capricorn; this is the furthest south that the subsolar point ever reaches. In the Southern Hemisphere the December solstice is called the Summer Solstice (and marks the longest day of the year), while in the Northern Hemisphere it is called the Winter Solstice (and marks the shortest day of the year). The December Solstice is usually on December 21.

Celebrations[change | change source]

While the exact causes were long unknown, the effect (of days getting shorter or longer) was recognised in many ancient cultures. Many of the pre-Christian cultures, like the druidic, the Germanic and the Norse faith therefore celebrated these events as holidays.

When the importance of the old faiths vanished, the Christian religion took over some of the festivities, which were then carried out in the honour of a new (Christian) occasion. For instance, the date of Christmas in the Catholic and Protestant faith is just 3 days away from the December Solstice.

References[change | change source]

Other pages[change | change source]