Welcome to. . .A Happy Winter! ! ! ! Today marks the first day of the winter season. Seemingly the longest of all seasons, because the nights seem so long as the long shadows and darker twilight add to a nighttime that just won’t ever seem to go away. I am from the Chicago, Illinois area, and we have a old-time saying here: “There are two seasons, “The Fourth of July weekend”, and “All the rest of the year”. Here are some facts and trivia. . .
❄️ 🧤 ☃️ 🎿 ⛄ 🧥 🥶 🏂 🏔️ 🌬️ ❄️ 🧤 ☃️ 🎿 ⛄ 🧥 🥶 🏂 🏔️ 🌬️ ❄️ 🧤 ☃️ 🎿 ⛄ 🧥 🥶 🏂 🏔️ 🌬️
Timing: Happened on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at 9:59 a.m. CST.
Official scientific name: Winter Solstice – Winter has the meaning of “shortest light” and has many related words: cold season, brumal, wintertime, hibernal, cold. Solstice has the meaning of “Equalizing latitudinal movement from the equator–this time south, being our winter in the Northern Hemisphere”. It is the point where movement of the Sun seems to hold still, having “solitude”. Daylight holds from lengthening or shortening and stabilizes before it starts to swing the other way–before it is going to get ready and the days are due to gain length.
Unequal timing: The shortest day is right at the solstice where the sun is as far south as it will get this season. Day and night are as unequal north to south as possible. The variance is about 9 hours in the Northern Hemisphere, and 15 hours in the Southern Hemisphere. Very close to one third of the whole available sunlight is in the Northern Hemisphere, and 2/3 in the Southern Hemisphere. That difference of light amounting to a 6 hour period between the poles, plus the illuminated South Pole and the dark North Pole, make up the difference to amount to the extra 33% available light difference between the poles today.
Sun’s position: The Sun rises the farthest south and is right in the position of being on the Tropic of Capricorn today, the point where the Sun stops going further south and makes its turn back towards the equator. That point is where the Sun is overhead today and exactly at 23.4394° in south latitude.
Equator: The Sun almost appears as far away from being overhead as it could possibly be at the equator at high noon. The Sun is always at or near a twelve hour day, with only a difference of plus to minus of six minutes seasonally. You would be able to tell you are very close to the equator though no matter what season, because the sun always rises and sets exactly perpendicularly, and does not arc at all towards the rising and setting. It does however arc all day long more like a basketball’s grooves do, and arcs exact to near 180° to make up that twelve hour lighting period.
Day for the north pole and night for the south pole: Winter means there is no exposure of Sun on the North Pole, having virtual 24 hours of darkness. The North Pole’s duration of 24-hour darkness lasts almost 11-weeks, not the whole six month period. The period will last five to six more weeks, when the twilight period will restart. In Antarctica, and stays lit at the South Pole for six full months. It will appear to be darker day by day as you get to leter January, but the Sun is evident throughout the period.
Shadow and shine: The Earths tilt casts the shadow on the Earth unevenly, meaning the halves of the northern and southern hemispheres the largest discrepancy of sunshine between the poles and the day to night. The shadow at noon is the longest, so that areas with taller buildings have the streets virtually in the shadow, almost all day long, with only daylight illumination makinging it down in the streets. Photography can be tricky because of the darkness, and a guide is sometimes necessary to compensate exposure. The Sun casts a shadow that reflects your present latitude at the location you are on Earth, hence the coalition of the poles being 90° north and south plus the horizon being 90° altitude explains why the North Pole is setting and the South Pole is rising.
Not so trivial and need for sunglasses: The “blinded by the light” effect due to the fact that sunlight is so far to the south, that reflections off objects on the ground (including wet and icy ground, and snow), or even through your window directly, make vehicular travel more dangerous–and sunglasses become a great asset and lifesaver.
Astronomical not meteorological: The winter season start is astronomical. Meteorological start of winter began on December 1st., although to some it usually is thought to start the day of Thanksgiving’s nightfall. Winter is seemingly long because the area of twilight is so short and the angle of the Sun makes it seem darker almost an hour earlier than the Sun looks in the spring and fall, and especially the summer months.
Sunrise and Sunset are Offset: The winter season start is astronomical. The day does not represent the earliest sunset or the latest sunrise, not withstanding any daylight savings time changes. The earliest sunset is at 4:20 p.m. from the period of December 2 to 15, where tonight’s sunset was 4 minutes later at 4:24 p.m. The latest sunrise can be the last week in October and before the time change in November, but if it weren’t for that, it would still NOT actually be today, but in about a week. Johannes Kepler discovered that the orbits along which the planets travel around the Sun are all ellipses in comparison to the Sun, in his laws of planetary motion in the 17th century. This means that the evenings are already getting lighter.
The Moon: The latest full Moon that just transpired last weekend was the Cold Moon. December’s full Cold Moon and it is the longest exposure the Moon has all year, a reflection of our summer’s Sun–at about 15 hours long from rise to set. The full Moon is up in the sky approximately where the Sun was 6 months ago. The full Moon is always a reflection of the night, no matter what season. It rises exactly when the Sun sets and sets when the Sun rises. It follows the shadow of the Sun exactly. If the disk area is directly in conjunction with the Earth’s area, it will eclipse, but not every month, usually between 4-6 month intervals, and if there is an eclipse of the Moon, there will always be a solar eclipse either two weeks before or after–or both, but when it is both it is usually a partial either way. The first and third quarter Moons (looks like a half) that happen closest to winter’s beginning are very close to 12 hours in length and close to the equator, becasue of the Sun’s position. The full Moons on the winter side are all over 12 hours.
Sun is Closest to Earth in January: Our winter also ironically enough is closest to the sun which on the date of January 4 it reaches perihelion, the point at which the Earth is closest to the sun.
Winter Activities Enjoyed:
Football, the beginning of the basketball and hockey seasons, pumpkin and pecan pie, the winter color/leaves, last minute weekend picnic and camping (don’t forget your coat), bonfires, boating, fishing, OctoberFest, Hiking, walking, outdoor fitness, raking, making sure you are ready for winter. . .and MORE!
Winter Prediction Maps:
Checkout the nice crisp color, facts and links:
- Winter storm prediction/tracking: Weather Prediction Center (WPC) Home Page
- Heating degree day units: ASOS Temperature Departure and Degree Day Maps
- Wind chill factor information: Wind Chill Chart
- Winter snow seasonal totals: Storm Total Maps
- More fun for you, the kids and science. ..
Winter Weather Safety Information:
- Tips For Playing it Safe During a Winter Storm
- Tips For Playing it Safe During a Severe Cold Wave
- The Disaster: Home, Family & Financial Toolkit – Resources For Recovery
- Other weather safety tips and critical information: Weather Tips
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Global Winter Solstice Dates
|2021||Tues., December 21 at 9:59 a.m.||Sun., June 20 at 10:32 p.m (Past)|
|2022||Wed., December 21 at 3:48 p.m.
||Tues., June 21 at 4:14 a.m.|
|2023||Thurs., December 21 at 9:27 a.m.||Wed., June 21 at 9:58 a.m.|
|2024||Sat., December 21 at 3:19 a.m.||Thurs., June 20 at 3:51 p.m.|
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Have a wonderful season and. . . Happy Winter! ! ! !
❄️ 🧤 ☃️ 🎿 ⛄ 🧥 🥶 🏂 🏔️ 🌬️ ❄️ 🧤 ☃️ 🎿 ⛄ 🧥 🥶 🏂 🏔️ 🌬️ ❄️ 🧤 ☃️ 🎿 ⛄ 🧥 🥶 🏂 🏔️ 🌬️
Great Winter Photos Coming This January!
Enjoy the Season of. . .Winter! ! ! !
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