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Sunday, December 16, 2012

What is the December Solstice?

So you've made plans to spend Friday night with TLC at our Stateline Woods Preserve to celebrate the December Solstice (or if you haven't click HERE to find out more information and RSVP today!!) but the question of what exactly a solstice is remains.
 Solstices are short periods during the course of the calendar year when the equator of the Earth is at the greatest distance from the sun. The axis of the planet is tilted directly towards or away from the sun, causing the exposure of the equator of the planet to be further away from the rays of the sun. The time of solstice also has a direct impact on the amount of daylight that is experienced in different parts of the world just before, during, and after the occurrence.

The name for this period when the equator is furthest from the sun has its roots in two Latin words or terms. Sol is Latin for the sun, while sistere is understood to translate as standing still. A solstice is a time when it appears that the sun is standing still rather than moving around the earth.

In many cultures the solstices mark either the beginning or the midpoint of winter and summer.  Of course in 2012 there are all types of end of the world prophecies that are stemming from the end of the Mayan calendar.  Another interested tidbit is while in the northern hemisphere this December Solstice is the "Winter Solstice" and the shortest day of the year, if you travel south of the equator to the southern hemisphere, you would be celebrating the "Summer Solstice" and the longest day of the year.  If you live in the Antarctic, there will be 24 hours of daylight, and if you live in the Arctic circle, there will be 24 hours of darkness. 

As we stand around the bonfire at Stateline Woods, I will be pretending to celebrate the longest day of the year, not the shortest!!

At 7:11AM EST on December 21, be sure to welcome the beginning of winter and then come celebrate with us at Stateline Woods Preserve!

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