Winter solstice

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alokmohan

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The Winter Solstice, also known as Midwinter, occurs around December 21 or 22 each year in the Northern hemisphere, and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. It occurs on the shortest day or longest night of the year, sometimes said to mark the beginning of a hemisphere's astronomical winter. The word solstice derives from Latin, Winter Solstice meaning Sun set still in winter. Worldwide, interpretation of the event varies from culture to culture, but most hold a recognition of rebirth, involving festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations. Many cultures celebrate or celebrated a holiday near the winter solstice; examples of these include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, Pongal and many other festivals of light.[1](wiki)<br />
 
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usn_skwerl

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Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures the world over for thousands of years. This start of the solar year is a celebration of Light and the rebirth of the Sun. In old Europe, it was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel.<br /><br />Today, many people in Western-based cultures refer to this holiday as "Christmas." Yet a look into its origins of Christmas reveals its Pagan roots. Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" in the third century as part of the Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. Shortly thereafter, in 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this Roman solar feast day was Christianized. January 6, celebrated as Epiphany in Christendom and linked with the visit of the Magi, was originally an Egyptian date for the Winter Solstice.<br /><br />Most of the customs, lore, symbols, and rituals associated with "Christmas" actually are linked to Winter Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures. While Christian mythology is interwoven with contemporary observances of this holiday time, its Pagan nature is still strong and apparent. Pagans today can readily re-Paganize Christmastime and the secular New Year by giving a Pagan spiritual focus to existing holiday customs and by creating new traditions that draw on ancient ways. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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SpeedFreek

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As winter solstice is the shortest day, how come the middle of winter, the coldest day, is usually a month or two later? And the same question applies in summer - the longest day is near the start of summer. The days get shorter after that, but the temperature keeps rising for another month or two.<br /><br />It would seem logical to think that the shortest day, the day with the least daylight, would be the coldest and the longest day would be the warmest... <br /><br />It is ironic that we call the winter and summer solstices mid-winter and mid-summers day and yet winter and summer are only just beginning! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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It's called hysteresis.<br /><br />The land (and oceans) take time to warm up or cool down. This leads to a delay of three or 4 weeks from minimum or maximum insolation.<br /><br />Since water has more heat capacity than land, the closer to the ocean you are, the more of a delay.<br /><br />I know for my location, the <i>average </i>coldest day of winter is near Jan 15, and warmest of summer July 15th.<br /><br />That's why, in the northern hemisphere, meteorological winter is Dec-Jan-Feb, and Summer is Jun-July-Aug. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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drwayne

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Lag. In much the same way that your house takes time to respond to changes in thermal inputs (thermostat settings), the Earth does not respond instantly to changes in thermal inputs.<br /><br />Very few systems do not have some form of thermal inertia that lead to a delayed feedback or lag condition.<br /><br />Wayne <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>"1) Give no quarter; 2) Take no prisoners; 3) Sink everything."  Admiral Jackie Fisher</p> </div>
 
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billslugg

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<font color="yellow">Today, many people in Western-based cultures refer to this holiday as "Christmas." </font><br /><br />Surprisingly, this trend has reversed and the term Christmas is being supplanted. People of other cultures wish to avoid exposure of their children to Christian ceremonies, as promulgated by paramount commercial interests in the US. Other, more left leaning, constituencies thirst for a fight after the feud dies down over gifting the Indians the smallpox blankets as after dinner treats on the first Thanksgiving. We have gravitated toward and pretty much lost Christmas for "Winter Solstice Heavy Shopping Season" here in the US. Are any of you folks overseas seeing this trend yet? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi MeteorWayne,<br /><br />The lag is even greater here. Usually (not always) the hottest day is around 17th August, the <br />coldest 18th February.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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alokmohan

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We should not confuse between coldest day and shortest day.When the winter solstice is this year?It varies each year.
 
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alokmohan

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On Tuesday morning, December 21st, at 7:42 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, the Sun will reach its southernmost point in the sky for 2004 and begin its six-month return journey northward. This moment marks the December solstice, the official beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and a time of great celebration in many northern cultures. <br /><br />The seasons' starting times are governed by the Earth's motion around the Sun (sky snd telescope)<br />
 
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rfoshaug

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Where I live (northern Norway), we haven't seen the sun for several weeks and won't see the sun again until early February (depending on weather and local mountains of course). And now, at 13:30, it is almost completely dark outside - at noon it was like a dawn that turned directly into dusk, not very dark but not very bright either.<br /><br />Apart from some mild depressions and sleeping disorders, most people cope with the period of darkness quite well. And of course we'll get "paid back" in the summer with the midnight sun and bright warm summer nights. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />Just a small report from 69° north. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff9900">----------------------------------</font></p><p><font color="#ff9900">My minds have many opinions</font></p> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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If your skies are cloud-free during that time, it'd be like an astronomer's dream. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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rfoshaug

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It is very nice to be able to go out and view deep sky objects at 4pm (only problem at mid-winter is that it is usually quite cold when the skies are clear, so September-October and February-April seem to be the best times for amateur astronomy).<br /><br />On the other hand, the skies are too bright for any observations from the end of April until the end of August (we never get to have warm summer nights and stars at the same time). And we never get to see stars farther south than Sirius. And while the aurora is nice in itself, it's not good for deep sky observations.<br /><br />And now that Saturn and Jupiter are on their way to the part of the ecliptic where the Sun is in winter, that means they'll be constantly below the horizon for several years before reappearing - especially Saturn which has such a long orbital period.<br /><br />But there are positive sides as well, such as when Saturn or Jupiter for several years is constantly above the horizon, or the period each month when the Moon is constantly above the horizon for days (such as around full Moon now in December). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff9900">----------------------------------</font></p><p><font color="#ff9900">My minds have many opinions</font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi where are you rfoshaug?<br /><br />I am quite a long way north @ 51 degrees, 8' North, Ashford, Kent, UK.<br /><br />At least here, the entire ecliptic does rise daily, but the area from Libra to Aquarius does<br />stay rather low, not up for long & objects within this part suffer from poor seeing.<br /><br />Jupiter this Summer, being a good example.<br /><br />You must be north of the Arctic Circle???<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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sssalvi

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Actually there is a difference between solstice and the hottest/shortest day. The solstice is the longest/shortest day because the sun is at its extreme transits to Noth or South. It is a Global phenomenon. OTOH the Hottest day occurs when the Sun is over YOUR Lattitude for most of the time of the day ( or in other words when it is overhead ... in common parlance ). It is a local act. This is different than the solstice time. If you give your location I will will be happy to create a graph to show how the solar elevation varies over a year at your place. <br />
 
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MeteorWayne

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That is not correct. As I stated, the hottest or coldest average day comes well after the solstice, at least several weeks, due to the thermal mass of the land and/or ocean. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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I stated just that fact myself.<br /><br />In MeteorWayne's location his hottest - coldest days come about the 15th of the <br />following month after the Solstice. <br /><br />Here at my location, the lag is far greater, nearly TWO months after the Solstices on average.<br /><br />High Bridge, New Jersey, USA: Winter Solstice Sunrise: 07:20. Sunset: 16:35 EST.<br /><br />15th January, Average Coldest Day: Sunrise: 07:21. Sunset: 16:56 EST.<br /><br />Note the Sun is above the horizon for an extra 22 minutes.<br />------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom: Winter Solstice Sunrise: 07:58. Sunset: 15:51 GMT.<br /><br />18th February, Average Coldest Day: Sunrise: 07:05. Sunset: 17:16 GMT.<br /><br />The Sun is above the horizon for an extra: 2 hours & 18 minutes.<br /><br />So there is some lag in & also between both locations.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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SpeedFreek

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I posted the question asking what caused the lag between the shortest day and the coldest.. I sort of knew the answer anyway, but didn't know the correct scientific explanation.<br /><br />I live near you Andrew, I'm in Bow, London, so our coldest day is nearly 2 months after the shortest and the same applies in summer - it's usually hottest in mid August. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi speedfreek,<br /><br />Yes in Britain, it is generally nearly a two month lag. On the North Sea coast, the lag is <br />often even greater, often the warmest day, not arriving till September, with the coldest<br />in March, far more prone to the actual North Sea temperatures.<br /><br />The hottest day in Britain was Sunday 10th August 2003. <br /><br />In fact, June hardly ever figures with the hottest days (although 2004 did have a June hottest day). <br /><br />They are nearly always July, August & even September.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Yes, and the reason for the longer delay is that you guys are surrounded by ocean, which has much greater thermal mass than land. Islands are like that <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br />Even though I am as close to the ocean, the prevailing westerly winds mean that under most circumstances (i.e. average) our climate is more land based than ocean based.<br /><br />One crucial exception is during what we call Nor'easters, big storms moving up the east coast of the US, when during these storms, the moisture from the ocean provides unlimited precipitation potential. It also affects snowstorms in December; since the ocean temperature is still high, it is more difficlut to get a heavy snowstorm that early in the season, they tend to change to rain.<br /><br />So while snow events of any size occur from October through April, the big ones tend to occur from Jan 15 through February, when the mositure can be supplied in abundance without warming the atmosphere and changing it to rain.<br /><br />Weather Wayne <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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alokmohan

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Sat., Dec. 22, 2007, 1:08 A.M. EST (06:08 UT), marks the solstice—the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere<br />by Ann-Marie Imbornoni<br /> <br />The precise moment of the 2007 solstice will be Sat., Dec. 22, 1:08 A.M. EST (06:08 UT).<br /><br />Related Links<br />Seasons of the Northern Hemisphere, 2007<br />Seasons of the Northern Hemisphere, 2008<br />For Kids: Understanding the Solstice<br />External Links<br />Sky and Telescope<br />U.S. Naval Observatory<br /> <br /> <br />In astronomy, the solstice is either of the two times a year when the Sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator, the great circle on the celestial sphere that is on the same plane as the earth's equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs either December 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn; the summer solstice occurs either June 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Cancer. In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter and summer solstices are reversed.<br /><br />Reason for the Seasons<br />
 
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rfoshaug

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><br />Hi where are you rfoshaug?<br /><br />I am quite a long way north @ 51 degrees, 8' North, Ashford, Kent, UK.<br /><br />At least here, the entire ecliptic does rise daily, but the area from Libra to Aquarius does<br />stay rather low, not up for long & objects within this part suffer from poor seeing.<br /><br />Jupiter this Summer, being a good example.<br /><br />You must be north of the Arctic Circle???<br /><br />Andrew Brown.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Hi Andrew,<br /><br />Yes, I am north of the Arctic Circle, at about 69°N 18°E close to Bardufoss, in the northern part of Norway (mainland Norway stretches from about 58°N up to about 71°N) .<br /><br />There is a part of the ecliptic that we never see here - which is the part where the sun is now around winter solstice. So the years when planets are in that part of the sky or the days each month when the moon is in that part of the sky, they never rise. When they are in the opposite part of the sky, they never set.<br /><br />Just as the sun does over the course of a year.<br /><br />That is why the full moons closest to summer solstice can never be seen from my location because the moon will constantly be below the horizon, while the moon in December is constantly above the horizon for several days around full moon.<br /><br />Around the autumn equinox, it is the waning half-moon that will stay above the horizon for days, while it is the waxing half-moon that can never be seen. The opposite is true for spring equinox. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff9900">----------------------------------</font></p><p><font color="#ff9900">My minds have many opinions</font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi rfoshaug,<br /><br />Thank you very much.<br /><br />I was aware, that a large slice of the ecliptic is not visible from northern Norway,<br />just was not sure were you were.<br /><br />I see your point, like this year, you would not have seen Jupiter at all (that would have <br />really peeved me off as the Jupiter system is one of my favourites), but from even here, Jupiter <br />although visible, suffered from very poor seeing, due to being very low, even <br />when transiting due south. <br /><br />Today it is bright & sunny, & now almost an hour pass midday, the light is very yellow, the<br />sky a deep blue, more akin to early moring or late afternoon during the Summer.<br /><br />Tomorrow it is our earliest Sunset for 2007, with the Sun setting at 3:49 PM GMT, with the<br />latest Sunrise at 8:01 AM GMT on: Wednesday 2nd January 2008.<br /><br />For you rfoshaug, it is a moot point, as the Sun does not rise at all for you. <br />It must still get fairly light at noon, as the Sun approaches to about 3 degrees, <br />below your southern horizon, well within Civil Twilight?<br /><br />I will generate your location, as I have done for alokmohan's & MeteorWayne's<br />on Redshift & put your location (as I have also done for alokmohan's & MeteorWayne's) <br />on my Heavens Above account.<br /><br />Just realised, your latitude is virtually the same as the landing site of the Mars Phoenix Lander<br />on Mars.<br /><br />I can see an interesting post coming up later on my home computer. <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /><br /><br />Thank you alokmohan for starting such an interesting thread. <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /><br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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rfoshaug

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>How many hours you sleep?There is only night it seems.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br /><img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> I wish I could just hibernate through winter...<br /><br />But we sleep just as much as anyone else, I'm afraid. Just as people near the equator don't sleep 12 hours every night. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff9900">----------------------------------</font></p><p><font color="#ff9900">My minds have many opinions</font></p> </div>
 
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