Whatever Wednesday: Standing Still

Good morning! Here in Canada, it is the first day of winter, also known as the Winter or December Solstice. That being said, for this Whatever Wednesday I thought it would be interesting to look at six fun facts about the December Solstice that you may or may not already know. So here we go!

1. Summertime Solstice

In the Northern Hemisphere, the December Solstice is also the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. This may seem obvious, but we cannot forget about our other half. In the Southern Hemisphere, today is the summer solstice and the longest day of the year.

2. Timing is Everything

The whole day today is not the December Solstice. It actually occurs at a specific moment in time, when the Sun is exactly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn. Thus, this year the December Solstice is technically on December 21, 2016 at 10:44 (UTC).

3. Save the Date!

The December Solstice can happen on any date between December 20th to December 23rd. They rarely occur, though, on December 20th or 23rd. The last solstice on December 23rd was in 1903 and the next one will not happen until 2303!

4. An Astronomical Winter

In the Northern Hemisphere, astronomers and scientists use the December Solstice to mark the start of the winter season. For meteorologists, though, winter began three weeks ago on December 1st.

5. Sunrise & Sunset

The earliest sunset is actually not on the Solstice. (WHAT?!) In the Northern Hemisphere, most places see the earliest sunset a few days before the Solstice and their latest sunrise a few days after. This is due to a difference between how we measure time using clocks and how we measure it by a sundial.

6. Standing Still

“Solstice” comes from the Latin word solstitium, which means “the Sun stands still.” On this day, the Sun reaches the southern-most position that we can see from the Earth. Thus, the Sun seems to “stand still” at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverse its direction. For this reason, today is also known as the day that the Sun turns around.

Well, I hope that you enjoyed these fun facts about the December Solstice and possibility even learned something new! For more information about the December Solstice, check out this link here.

What did you learn today that you didn’t know before? Please feel free to share in the comments below! 🙂

Late-Afternoon Winter Sunshine in Thompson, MB

5 thoughts on “Whatever Wednesday: Standing Still”

  1. Always seems funny to think this is the first day of winter. Here in Alberta it has been bitterly cold for weeks, and moderately cold for weeks before that!
    The best thing about today is that we have hit rock bottom for daylight hours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is pretty funny! But yes, it is all up from here! 🙂 Although tomorrow here in Manitoba, it’s supposed to warm up to -7! Practically t-shirt weather 😉 My husband and I will try to bring some warmth your way when we come to Alberta next week!


  2. The first day of winter is more complex than I thought. I need to be still to meditate on such things . I can officially tell my teen to pack his shorts away. SoCal still rocking 70 degree weather….

    Liked by 1 person

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