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The Winter Solstice is an instant in time, marking the shortest day and longest night of the year. It is the day, also, when the noontime sun is at its lowest. The juncture of these two astronomical events is due to the axial tilt of the earth as it moves around the sun.

In the United States, and in some other parts of the northern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the first day of winter. However, the official date for the first day of winter varies from country to country, and will depend on a country’s climate.

In northern cultures, the Winter Solstice has long been celebrated as a day of birth or rebirth, a reversal of the sun’s waning presence in the sky. This year, it occurred on December 21, 2012.

In the northern hemisphere, the day also marks the southernmost rise of the sun. Due to a wobble in the earth’s axis as it moves around the sun, the sunrise will now reverse direction and move progressively from the southeast to the northeast, until it reverses direction once more on the day of the Summer Solstice, due to occur on June 21, 2013.

Winter Solstice, December 22, 2007____________________________________________________

At Right: The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere over Asia. The sun is at its lowest point in the southern sky. The northern polar regions remain dark, while the southern regions bathe in twenty-four hours of sunshine on December 22, 2007.
Source: Wikipedia.

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Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, I was unable to take photos on the day of the solstice, itself. The photos, above, I took a week later, on December 28, the first day following the solstice that dawned clear and cloudless. The first frame merely records the predawn, a time of quiet, expectant beauty. The second frame illustrates the sun rising in the southeast. The times are noted below each photo in the slide show. On that day, astronomical sunrise occurred at 7:13 am.
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Related: December Dawn*, Fiery June Dawn*.

 

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