The Inquiring Minds Program

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Winter Solstice - December 21st
Northern Hemisphere

The Winter Solstice has been celebrated in some way or another for thousands of years. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice is often connected with various religious holy days. Pagan religions associated the winter solstice with significant life changes, intricately linked with the universe and fates that determined the future and effected those lives. This significance can also be found in the Southern Hemisphere, where the Winter Solstice takes place in June.

For science-enthusiasts the winter solstice is an interesting astronomical occurrence that offers an opportunity to celebrate what we have managed to learn about the cosmos and affords us an opportunity to revel in the excitement of space exploration and the complexity of the universe.

Winter Solstice marks that day when there is less daylight than at any other time of the year. We commonly refer to it as the shortest day. The Summer Solstice, on the other hand, is the day with the most daylight (the longest day).

"Solstice" comes from two Latin words: "sol" (meaning sun) and "sistere," (to cause to stand still).


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