Happy Winter Solstice!

December 21, 2020 officially marks the first day of Winter and is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere! Today, we have the least amount of sunlight in the whole year, here in Clifton Park, we will only see approx. 9 hours of sunlight today. The sun will rise at 7:22 am and will set at 4:24 pm.

Almanc.com says that “On the day of the winter solstice, we are tilted as far away from the Sun as possible, which means that the Sun’s path across the sky is as low in the sky as it can be. Think about the daily path of the Sun: It rises in the east and sets in the west, arcing across the sky overhead. During the summer, the Sun arcs high in the sky, but during the winter, it arcs lower, closer to the horizon.”

We started observing Winter Solstice during the Neolithic period during the last part of the Stone Age, which began about 10,200 BC. Today, Stonehedge still holds events. “In the 1960s, the astronomer Gerald Hawkins suggested that the cluster of megalithic stones operated as an astronomical calendar, with different points corresponding to astrological phenomena such as solstices, equinoxes and eclipses.”

Today is also referred to as Astronomical winter which starts December 21, 2020 and ends March 20, 2021.

Going forward, we can look forward to Spring as shorter nights and longer days are ahead of us – something we all jump for joy for!

Today, we are also in for a treat! For the first time in 800 years, the “Star of Bethlehem” will be visible. This happens when Jupiter and Saturn align, only once every 20 years or so!

Many people observer this holiday with fire and light events. How are you celebrating the shortest day of the year? Cheers to Spring!