Winter Solstice 2007

The winter solstice occurs at 06:08 am GMT tomorrow morning (22nd December 2007). At that time the centre of the disc of the Sun will stand directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at around 23.5 degrees south of the Earth's equator. All of this is due to the tilt of the Earth's axis of rotation and we would be a much more boring planet without it. Tomorrow will be the shortest day of the year for northern hemispherians and the longest of the year for those in the southern hemisphere. Tomorrow won't see the earliest sunset for northern hemispherians though as that happened a week or so ago and the latest sunrise will be near the end of the month.

As well as rotating about its own axis, the Earth also orbits the Sun. That orbit is slightly elliptical so sometimes we are slightly closer to the Sun than others. The closest approach of the Earth to the Sun - a point known as perihelion - will occur around midnight (GMT) on the 3rd January 2008. It isn't a major date for your calendar though as the Earth is only around 1% closer to the Sun than on average.

Happy Solstice!

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 21st Dec 2007 (17:16 GMT) | Permalink
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