I guess I missed it.
I’ve been referring to my wall calendar all week and according to the cute little box with the number 22, winter solstice occurred at 6:12 am EST today, December 22nd, 2012. With all the “end of the world” talk this week, I somehow failed to connect the winter solstice and the end of the world on the same day. My calendar was plain wrong.
It’s no small irony that the calendar producer is a company called Sounds True.
The rest of the calendar entries were correct this year, so you can appreciate why I missed it. Remaining dates are in good working order as well: Christmas, December 25th. Check. Boxing Day, December 26th. Check. And finally, New Year’s Eve, December 31st.
Here’s is what National Geographic has to say about the solstice:
During the winter solstice the sun hugs closer to the horizon than at any other time during the year, yielding the least amount of daylight annually. On the bright side, the day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days leading up to the summer solstice.
“Solstice” is derived from the Latin phrase for “sun stands still.” That’s because—after months of growing shorter and lower since the summer solstice—the sun’s arc through the sky appears to stabilize, with the sun seeming to rise and set in the same two places for several days. Then the arc begins growing longer and higher in the sky, reaching its peak at the summer solstice.
The solstices occur twice a year (around December 21 and June 21) because Earth is tilted by an average of 23.5 degrees as it orbits the sun—the same phenomenon that drives the seasons.
During the warmer half of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the North Pole is tilted toward the sun. The northern winter solstice occurs when the “top” half of Earth is tilted away from the sun at its most extreme angle of the year.
Please join me in counting down to the first day of spring; the Vernal Equinox. For those of us that long to get our hands in the dirt, that’s a date we don’t want to miss. And for all you computer experts who know that the internet is always right, please help me understand why my countdown calendar (right sidebar) it teasing me when it says March 20th is in two months?