This was taken a few years back on the Boulevard Park pathway. Every year about this time, people begin to take the time to decorate the trees and delight all the people who walk in the park. I always love to see what's available every year. This morning when I walked from home to the bus, I saw, before daybreak, plenty of colorful lights newly added to homes around here. Our days are getting shorter and shorter, as we move towards the longest night and shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, known as the Winter Solstice.
Some facts about the Winter Solstice, which will occur at 2:02am on December 21st in 2020 (snagged from the Time and Date website):
- Most people count the whole day as the December Solstice. However, the Solstice is actually at a specific moment — when the Sun is exactly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn. (I didn't know that.)
- The term solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, meaning 'the Sun stands still'. This is because on this day, the Sun reaches its southern-most position as seen from the Earth. The Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction. It's also common to call it the day the Sun turns around.
- Most places in the Northern Hemisphere see their earliest sunset a few days before the Solstice and their latest sunrise a few days after the Solstice. This happens because of the difference between how we measure time using watches and the time measured by a sundial.
There are many more interesting things to learn about the Winter Solstice on that website. It's one of my favorite places to visit to learn more about astronomy.