Sunday, December 21, 2008
Winter Solstice 2008
Shortest day of the year.
"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low'r'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried."
--Wm. Shakespeare in Richard the Third
But the human spirit remains indomitable. This phase,too, will pass.
In the winter the days are short and the Sun in low in the sky. The graphic above shows the Sun's path through the sky on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. This is the day when the Sun is the lowest in the southern sky.
During the short winter days the Sun does not rise exactly in the east, but instead rises just south of east and it sets south of west.Each day after the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21st, the Sun's path becomes a little higher in the southern sky. The Sun also begins to rise closer to the east and set closer to the west until we reach the day when it rises exactly east and sets exactly west. This day is called the equinox. In the spring we have the Spring Equinox about March 21st. There is also a Fall Equinox on September 21st.
--Univ. of Montana