We're almost at the shortest day of the year in England, the 2011 winter solstice being 5.30 am on Thursday 22nd, and not the 21st as I had expected. Somehow I've lived this long under the assumption that the summer and winter solstices were always on the 21st of June and December respectively, but, it turns out, the solstices are moveable feasts, falling between the 20th and 23rd of the month.
I first caught wind of this a week or so ago when I received an email invitation to a winter solstice celebration on Firle Beacon (Sussex), scheduled for 8.00 am on the 22nd. Then this morning on Twitter I came upon a tweet that linked out to timeandate.com explaining that the solstice’s varying dates are the result of the Gregorian calendar system.
You can also click through from the article to the sunrise and sunset calculator for your own location, which I did — and learned that tomorrow is only one second shorter than today! Intrigued, I entered a few different locations in the search field and discovered that the solstice is, of course, relative, i.e. it occurs at the same moment around the world but at different (local) times … which means that the December solstice on the west coast of the US is at 9.30 pm on the 21st, in the UK it’s at 5.30 am on the 22nd, and in New Zealand it’s 6.30 pm on the 22nd (which for the Kiwis is their summer solstice).
This photograph was shot in Brighton last year with my compact Canon, and although it looks warm it was a typically cold English winter day.
Finally, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my followers — thank you for taking the time to read my blog and make comments, it’s always much appreciated. This is likely to be my last post of 2011, as I intend to spend the remainder of the month enjoying the holidays, as well as working on a new writing project.