Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Solstice

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs on December 22, 2007 at 1:08 AM EST; and at 6:08 AM UT (Universal Time). This moment marks the astronomical beginning of winter, and the shortest day and longest night of the year. For all but the most recent tick of the clock of history, darkness and cold pointed to one inescapable truth. Food and fuel might run out. Darkness and death might win against light and life.

This year, the winter solstice corresponds with the end of PSULaw exams. After days of looking down, look up at the night sky. It shines with the brightest stars: Orion, Canis Major, Gemini, Taurus. The brilliant light of these winter stars sailing farther into the western sky with each night are proof that light is on the rise.

Photo by Philip Appleton, SIRTF Science Center, Caltech

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