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Guide to the Equinoxes and Solstices

Seeing Earth’s Sunlight on Equinoxes and Solstices from Space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOLSTICES

A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun's apparent position in the sky, as viewed from Earth, reaches its northernmost or southernmost extremes. The name is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the apparent movement of the Sun's path north or south comes to a stop before reversing direction.

The term solstice can also be used in a broader sense, as the date (day) when this occurs. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some cultures they are considered to start or separate the seasons, while in others they fall nearer the middle.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solstice Celebrations

The term solstice can also be used in a wider sense, as the date (day) that such a passage happens. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some languages they are considered to start or separate the seasons; in others they are considered to be center points (in England, in the Northern hemisphere, for example, the period around the June solstice is known as midsummer, and Midsummer's Day is 24 June, about three days after the solstice itself). Similarly 25 December is the start of the Christmas celebration, and is the day the Sun begins to return to the northern hemisphere.

Many cultures celebrate various combinations of the winter and summer solstices, the equinoxes, and the midpoints between them, leading to various holidays arising around these events. For the December solstice, Christmas is the most popular holiday to have arisen. In addition, Yalda, Saturnalia, Karachun, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Yule (see winter solstice for more) are also celebrated around this time. For the June solstice, Christian cultures celebrate the feast of St. John from June 23 to 24 (see St. John's Eve, Ivan Kupala Day, Midsummer), while Neopagans observe Midsummer, also known as Litha. For the vernal (spring) equinox, several spring-time festivals are celebrated, such as the Persian Nowruz, the observance in Judaism of Passover and in most Christian churches of Easter. The autumnal equinox has also given rise to various holidays, such as the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. At the midpoints between these four solar events, cross-quarter days are celebrated.

In the southern tip of South America, the Mapuche people celebrate We Tripantu (the New Year) a few days after the winter solstice, on June 24. Further north the Atacama people formerly celebrated this date with a noise festival, to call the Sun back. Further East, the Aymara people celebrate their New Year on June 21. A particularly beautiful and significant celebration occurs at sunrise when the sun shines right through the Gate of the Sun in Tiwanaku. Other Aymara New Year feasts occur throughout Bolivia, including at the site of El Fuerte de Samaipata.

In many cultures the solstices and equinoxes traditionally determine the midpoint of the seasons, which can be seen in the celebrations called midsummer and midwinter. Along this vein, the Japanese celebrate the start of each season with an occurrence known as Setsubun. The cumulative cooling and warming that result from the tilt of the planet become most pronounced after the solstices, leading to the more recent custom of using them to mark the beginning of summer and winter in most countries of central and northern Europe, as well as in Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand.

http://integral-options.blogspot.com/2009/12/happy-solstice-winter-solstice.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMER SOLSTICE


The first day of the Season of Summer. On this day (JUNE 21 in the northern hemisphere*) the Sun is farthest north and the length of time between Sunrise and Sunset is the longest of the year.
 

 

 

 

 

 

WINTER SOLSTICE:

The first day of the Season of Winter. On this day (DECEMBER 22 in the northern hemisphere*) the Sun is farthest south and the length of time between Sunrise and Sunset is the shortest of the year.

* In the southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstices are exchanged:. Summer: December 22. Winter: June 21.

 

 

 

The 5 Dates for 2012:

 

  • 20 March (Equinox),

  • 20 June (Solstice),

  • 22 Sept (Equinox),

  • 12 Dec (12-12-12) &

  • 21 Dec (Solstice)

 

 

 

 

 

EQUINOX

Two times of the year when night and day are about the same length. The Sun is crossing the Equator (an imaginary line around the middle of the Earth) and it is an equal distance from the North Pole and the South Pole.

SPRING EQUINOX: The first day of the Season of Spring - and the beginning of a long period of sunlight at the Pole. In the northern hemisphere: MARCH 20 (the Sun crosses the Equator moving northward). In the southern hemisphere: SEPTEMBER 22 (the Sun crosses the Equator moving southward).

AUTUMN EQUINOX: The first day of the Season of Autumn - and the beginning of a long period of darkness at the Pole. In the northern hemisphere: SEPTEMBER 22 (the Sun crosses the Equator moving southward). In the southern hemisphere: MARCH 20 (the Sun crosses the Equator moving northward).
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EQUINOXES

This article is about the astronomical event when the sun is at zenith over the Equator. For other uses, see Equinox (disambiguation).

For the same event happening on other planets and setting up a celestial coordinate system, see Equinox (celestial coordinates).

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator. The term equinox can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens. The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, the night and day have approximately equal length.

At an equinox, the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator (i.e. declination 0) and ecliptic intersect. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points: classically, the vernal point and the autumnal point. By extension, the term equinox may denote an equinoctial point.

An equinox happens each year at two specific moments in time (rather than two whole days), when there is a location (the subsolar point) on the Earth's equator, where the center of the Sun can be observed to be vertically overhead, occurring around March 20/21 and September 22/23 each year.

Although the word equinox is often understood to mean "equal [day and] night," this is not strictly true. For most locations on earth, there are two distinct identifiable days per year when the length of day and night are closest to being equal; those days are referred to as the "equiluxes" to distinguish them from the equinoxes. Equinoxes are points in time, but equiluxes are days. By convention, equiluxes are the days where sunrise and sunset are closest to being exactly 12 hours apart.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equinox
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight Sun


The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon occurring in summer months at latitudes north and nearby to the south of the Arctic Circle, and south and nearby to the north of the Arctic Circle where the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Given fair weather, the sun is visible for a continuous 24 hours, mostly north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle. The number of days per year with potential midnight sun increases the farther poleward one goes.

In the Kingdom of Norway anybody will be able to find the midnight sun if you visit Norway around June or July.
 

 

 

 

 

 

These 8 points are the solstices, equinoxes and cross-quarters at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican – and The Obelisk

St. Peter's Sq. is a Pagan Sun-wheel. It has an Egyptian obelisk serving as the gnomon of a sundial in the center. These 8 points are the solstices, equinoxes and cross-quarters.

View of Rome from the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica, June 2007
 

 

 

 

 

 

The Centered Obelisk ( Sun Dial & Zodiac pointer)

It is also a sun dial, its shadows mark noon over the signs of the zodiac in the white marble disks in the paving of the square. The obelisk rests upon four couchant lions, each with two bodies whose tails intertwine.

The Obelisk from Egypt was brought to Rome by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD. It originally stood in his circus on a spot to the south of the basilica, close to the present Sacristy.

Sixtus V had Domenico Fontana move it in 1586 to the center of St. Peter's Square
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celtic Sun Wheel

Also known at the Wheel of Taranis, this symbol represents the solar calendar, with points that mark the position of the sun at equinoxes and solstices. -In Celtic mythology Taranis was the god of thunder worshipped in Gaul and Britain.

this symbol represents the Wheel of the Year and the eight Wiccan sabbats. The term "sun wheel" comes from the solar cross, which was a calendar used to mark the solstices and equinoxes in some pre-Christian European cultures.

Some Celtic sun wheels have twelve spokes representative of the twelve months of the year. Twelve-month based sun wheel expands upon the original Celtic wheel symbol that had six spokes.
 

 

 

 

Solstice sunrise at the Karnak temple.

 

 

Solstices and Equinoxes. HORUS - GOD OF EGYPT ...

 

 

 

The Serpent Shadow at the Equinox

 

 

 

 

The Pyramid of Kukulkan is a monumental and astonishing Maya calendar at Chichen Itza - The Serpent Shadow at the Equinox

 

The Equinox Serpent: On the spring equinox at the Kukulkan pyramid, the sun creates a shadow of a plumed serpent moving from the top of the building downwards. On reaching the base, the shadow body joins the real stone snake's head in a stunningly ambitious display of knowledge and skill.

       

 

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