Anyway, what is the winter solstice?


In 2021, The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere occurs at December twenty one. Although not as dramatic as 2020 Jupiter and Saturn conjunction, The longest night of the year is an important turning point. Astronomical winter It started, and the days gradually grew longer.

Curious why this is happening? WIRED interviewed Tansu Daylan, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Postdoctoral assistant at MIT to better understand the winter solstice and the relationship between our planet and the sun.

To describe what happened in space during the winter solstice, first consider a giant glass ball surrounding the earth, let us ignore the planet’s rotation (which complicates everything). Daylan said: “If you look at the three-dimensional sphere around us, called the celestial sphere, the sun and all other solar system objects will pass through a plane in this celestial sphere called the ecliptic plane.”

“While doing this, the sun will change its magnetic declination,” he said. Deflection angle and Right ascension Are the two main axes of the celestial sphere. “In this frame of reference, from the perspective of our northern hemisphere, when it is the winter solstice, the sun is at the southernmost point.”

The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere occurs at Arctic The furthest tilt from the sun. The Arctic Circle was shrouded in darkness and experienced the longest night of the year.In the Southern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs at the same time, the Antarctic tilts towards the sun, and the Antarctic Circle experiences Midnight sun.

NASA’s online “Space Flight Fundamentals” tutorial includes a Celestial sphere with illustrations For anyone who likes to explore this idea further.

The low sun during the winter solstice will cause you Noon shadow To be very long. Although it is important to mankind, the winter solstice does not make much sense to the larger universe.

“The solstice is defined in terms of the earth-solar system, not necessarily the entire solar system. We give it a lot of meaning because the sun is so sacred to us, and its position on the celestial sphere is very important as a function of the time of the year. ,” Daylan said. “It determines the climate. Throughout the year, it tells us when the crops will mature. So this is very important, especially for historical civilization.”

From Grapefruit bath Arrive in japan You are Raymi celebration In Peru, cultures all over the world have a long history of celebrating the winter solstice. At this time of year, contemporary druids and archaeologists in England will continue to pay attention to the Stonehenge Memorial Monument.The interests of these two groups are sometimes the same, but they often show Human remains found at Stonehenge.


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Many winter solstice traditions combine the use of food to bring families and communities together.A version Meat pie It may have been eaten during the feast of Stonehenge.The Winter Solstice Festival in China tangyuan, A kind of rice dumplings usually stuffed with black sesame paste.

Although this holiday is celebrated early in December, Saint Lucia Day in Scandinavia can be traced back to the winter solstice.butter Saffron Bread Twisted into an S shape and served with raisins as part of the Saint Lucia Day event.


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