The winter solstice is the point in time when the sun is farthest away from the Tropic of Cancer. After then, the sun will return to the direction of the equator. The sun circles around the Earth. The sun's rays strike the Earth at an angle. When this happens at the north pole, where the ice makes it impossible for trees to grow, the sun is said to be in its southern maximum declination. At the south pole, where there is no ice, this would be when the sun is in its northern maximum declination.
People used to think that the universe was infinite and had no beginning or end. They believed that everything that has ever happened or will happen will always happen. There was never going to be a tomorrow because there was never going to be enough time for tomorrow to come. This way of thinking led to two problems. First, people did not want to die because they thought they would be forever trapped in eternal darkness. Second, people did not want to sleep too much because they knew they would miss something wonderful if they woke up early enough.
It was not until the 17th century that scientists started to change our view of the world. Galileo showed us with his telescope that the Earth was not the center of the Universe but instead we live on a small planet called "Earth". He also showed us that the Moon caused the tides and not the other way around as previously thought.
The Equinoxes and Solstices (Summer & Winter) The sun is at its highest position in the sky for any location north of the Tropic of Cancer, and today is the longest day of the year. The winter solstice commemorates the year's shortest day and longest night. It occurs on December 21 or 22 and can be seen from most of the country as a bright star show in the evening twilight. The spring equinox marks the moment when daytime and nighttime are of equal length, which happens on March 20 or 21. The summer solstice is on June 23 or 24 and marks the day when the sun is at its highest altitude in the sky and receives maximum daylight hours. The fall equinox takes place on September 23 or 24 and is when night and day are at their shortest and located in North America it is often called "falling backwards" because the days get shorter and the nights get longer until the winter solstice when they reverse themselves again.
Equinoxes and solstices are astronomical events that occur once every year, but the dates may change due to Earth's orbit around the Sun. These shifts in orientation bring about changes in the amount of daylight and darkness throughout the year. At the equinoxes, the sun is directly over the equator, so the days and nights are of equal length and there is no seasonal variation in temperature.
A solstice is the moment when the Earth is tilted as far away from or as close to the sun as it will be for the entire year. The Earth is inclined toward the sun at the summer solstice and gets the most sunlight, resulting in the longest day of the year. At the winter solstice, the Earth is tilted away from the sun, causing the shortest day of the year.
The word "solstice" comes from Latin meaning "sunstander". It refers to the fact that during a solstice, the sun is directly over the equator, which is why these events are called "the annual spring and fall equinoxes".
Equinoxes are times of equal night and day; that is, the sunrise on June 21st and the sunset on December 22nd occur at about 6:31 AM and 6:31 PM respectively. These moments coincide with the points when the Earth's axis is perpendicular to its orbit around the sun. As a result, there is exactly 12 months between each sunrise and sunset. If you were to walk continuously from one end of the earth to the other, you would travel 15,000 miles (24,828 km). This is equivalent to walking from California to Connecticut, across both poles!
A solstice is an event that happens on the celestial sphere when the Sun seems to reach its greatest northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator. Annually, the solstices occur around June 21 and December 21. But because the Earth travels around the sun, these days are not exactly the same as those in which the sun is directly over the equator (which would be the midsummer and midwinter solstices, respectively).
The word "solstice" comes from the Latin word for "sunstander," because people used to think that the sun stood still at these times. In fact, it's the earth that moves around the sun, so the sun is always traveling across the sky. At a solstice, more than half of the sun's arc across the sky is north of the celestial equator and more than half is south of the equator. At other times of the year, less than half of the sun's arc is north or south of the equator.
There are two solstices each year. The northern hemisphere experiences the summer solstice, while the southern hemisphere experiences the winter solstice. At both events, the angle between the horizon and the center of the sun is 90 degrees, meaning that it is noon somewhere on the planet when the sun is highest in the sky.