notes from the garden
December 21st, 2010
The winter solstice occurred very early this morning.Â This year the solstice was marked by the simultaneous occurrence of a very rare lunar eclipse.Â But just what is the winter solstice?
The winter solstice happens at the exact moment when the axial tilt of the earth is farthest away from the sun, marking the shortest day of the year.Â It marks the time when days will begin to get longer.Â Depending on the calendar year, in the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice is either December 21 or 22.
Interestingly, the solstice may have served as a special moment even in neolithic times, as evident by the construction of Newgrange and Stonehenge.Â Newgrange is a monolithic passage tomb in Ireland, thought to have been built between 3100 and 2900 BC.Â IT is perfectly aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice, thereby flooding the tomb with light.Â Stonehenge, in England, has alignments with both the winter and summer solstice.
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