Aligning With the Sun

I’m not a fan of winter. I don’t like the cold. Yes, I could move south where winter is warmer. I could go to the Southern Hemisphere where my winter is summer. But I do like solstices which turn autumn into winter and spring into summer.

Ancient monuments around the world (and something in my backyard) are aligning with the Sun and will line up on the 21st for the solstice. It starts winter. Or it begins the trip to spring.

Although the word “solstice” derives from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), the sun won’t stand still on December 21st. The solstice occurs at the instant when the Sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer’s hemisphere.

I like that people have been paying attention to this for a very long time. Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous “henge monument” that marks the solstices. The first monument was built about 5,000 years ago, and the stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC. And some of us are still paying attention.

We all eventually realize that the nights will be getting shorter and the days will be getting longer after this solstice. It is the day when there is no sunlight at the North Pole. That must be quite strange.

Druids would be chanting as the solstice dawn approaches at Stonehenge. In Greek mythology, the gods and goddesses met on the winter and summer solstices.

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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