The Winter Solstice and Seasonal

The winter solstice is upon us, marking the beginning of winter. It’s the day when the Sun’s setting position along the horizon stops changing. Solstice means «sun stop.» Ancient peoples observed the position of sunset with care to be able to determine both the winter and summer solstices as a way of keeping time, making calendars. Stonehenge in England is just such an observatory. Solstice celebrations marked the rebirth of the Sun in Roman and other ancient cultures. Today, we also hold celebrations in December, and some traditions from ancient solstice celebrations remain. Decorated trees, Yule logs, mistletoe, and communal celebrations date back thousands of years as people observed the Winter Solstice. As the holidays approach, the weather chills (here in the northern climes), and people remark upon the seasons. «Brrrrr … sure is cold. Must be because we are farther from the Sun in the winter.» Wrong, the notion that our distance from the Sun determines the seasons is a widespread, common misconception about the Earth and its relationship to our star. As reasoning creatures, many of us compare the temperature variation through the seasons from long, hot days of summer to cold short days of winter with the experience of standing next to a fire. It’s hotter close up, and cooler at a distance. But this common sense notion is not the cause of the seasons.
It is true that the Earth’s distance from the Sun actually does vary during a year–but it is not enough to drive the seasons. The Earth’s orbit is an ellipse with the Sun sitting at one foci. The closest approach of the Earth to the Sun is called perihelion, and happens on January 4, 2003 about two weeks after the winter solstice. Aphelion occurs when Earth is farthest from the Sun, and will happen on July 4, 2003, a couple of weeks after the summer solstice. The difference in distance? About 3 million miles, or about 3% of Earth’s total distance from the Sun, not nearly enough to explain the temperature difference between a cold day in January vs. a hot day July.
So, if it’s not the distance, then what? It’s the amount (in hours) and concentration (in watts per area) of light/energy striking the surface. That is determined by tilt of Earth’s axis and its location in its orbit around the Sun. The Earth is tilted 23 degrees 27 minutes off perpendicular to its orbit. So as it spins (causing day and night) and orbits, the North-South axis points gradually away from (winter) and toward (summer) the Sun. This determines how many hours of daylight and darkness each of us receive at different seasons. Here, in the Northern Hemisphere, as we approach the Winter Solstice, the daylight hours are short and the weather is cold. Earth’s North-South axis is pointed away from the Sun (from our perspective), and the Sun rises late, travels a low path across the sky, and sets early. The average energy per square foot per day is low compared with our northern summers.
It’s not winter over the entire planet. If you travel down under to, say Australia, on the same date, it’s the hot season in December. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the beginning of the hottest weather for the people of Australia, Africa and South America. The «Winter Solstice» is the «longest day of the year» in Australia at the same time it is the «shortest day of the year» in the USA, Europe and other northern sites. So, as you celebrate a cold, and perhaps snowy holiday season, remember that when the Aussie’s sing «I’m dreaming of a white Christmas» they’re headed to bright white sandy beaches to celebrate the beginning of a long hot season.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOUCopyright © Demetrios the Traveler
(Brexians lair)

About brexians

Demetrios Georgalas (A Surviving Globalization Consultant) was born in 1961 in Bern and grew up in Athens. In1985, graduated from Surrey University with a Tourism Management BSc (Hons). In 1998, graduated from LMTB under Freie Universitat Berlin, with a Diploma Lasers in Medicine. His professional career was started in the private sector and at the same time he created his first consulting company D+G Consultants Inc. Worked for major multinationals in Greece and abroad (FMCGs / Pharmaceuticals / Tourism). Demetrios Georgalas, having established also Travelling 2 Greece a destination management company, while with the D+G Consultants working in the areas of BTL and special marketing projects. He is activated except from Greece in the Balkans and in Turkey, consulting his clientele with new innovative proposals. Apart from his enterprising activities, he dabbles at blogging, travelling and cooking while he is married and has two children. In conclusion Demetrios Georgalas is an Athenian, Greek, Agnostic, Traveller, & Liberal he likes sci-fi, photography, blogging, travelling and cooking and if you like fascism or any kind of dogma, keep out! Δημήτρης Κ. Γεωργαλάς Γεννήθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1961, σπούδασε Τουριστική Διαχείριση στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο και κατέχει μεταπτυχιακό τίτλο στην Βιοτεχνολογία. Έχει εργαστεί σε μεγάλα τουριστικά γραφεία του εσωτερικού, και σε πολυεθνικές σε Ελλάδα και Εξωτερικό, στο χώρο των φαρμάκων, των ιατρικών μηχανημάτων και των FMCG’s. Από το 2001 είναι ελεύθερος επαγγελματίας, με δραστηριότητα στην διαχείριση προορισμού, τον θεματικό τουρισμό και τις ειδικές ενέργειες marketing. Είναι παντρεμένος και πατέρας δυο παιδιών, διδάσκει ειδικά θέματα εξωτερικού εμπορίου και κοινωνικής δικτύωσης, σε επιχειρήσεις και οργανισμούς. Ασχολείται ενεργά με το διαδίκτυο από το 1993 με άμεση εμπλοκή στα κοινωνικά δίκτυα και στο «ιστολογείν». Φανατικός ταξιδευτής, ερασιτέχνης φωτογράφος, μαχόμενος αγνωστικός και φιλελεύθερος. Όραμά του μια Ευρωπαϊκή Ελλάδα.
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3 Responses to The Winter Solstice and Seasonal

  1. Ο/Η lucy of wild flowers λέει:

    Τι έγινες εσύ παιδίιιιιιιι μουυυυυυυυυυυυυ;;;;;;Δώσε σημεία ζωής!Καλή χρονιά κι ευτυχία σε όλους τους τομείς!ΦιλιάΛούσυ

    Μου αρέσει!

  2. Ο/Η lucy of wild flowers λέει:

    ΕΙΠΑ ΚΑΙ ΕΛΑΛΗΣΑ!!!Δώσε σημεία ζωής!!!Φιλιά πολλά!

    Μου αρέσει!

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