Winter solstice: the arrival of astronomical winter in the Northern hemisphere and summer in the southern

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Sergeevicha in fotoracconti. Archival photoWinter solstice: the arrival of astronomical winter in the Northern hemisphere and summer in the southern© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Sergeevicha the image Bank

The winter solstice when in the Northern hemisphere of the planet comes the astronomical winter in the southern hemisphere – summer, will happen on 21 December 2017 19:28 GMT, according to the message of the Moscow planetarium.

«On this day the Sun rises in the South-East and sets in the South-West, describing the short arc in the sky. Over the capital of Russia the Sun rises above the horizon at 8.57, and will call at 15.58 GMT, the day length is 7 hours. For comparison, the summer solstice, June 22, the day in Moscow lasts 17 hours 34 minutes» — say astronomers.

In the winter solstice the height of the Sun above the horizon at noon will be 11 degrees (the latitude of Moscow). The sun will be in the constellation Sagittarius. For several days before and after solstice, the Sun will «hold the altitude», like stop for a while, so call these days the standing of the Sun. And December 21 at noon to see the lowest position of the Sun above the horizon in the Northern hemisphere of the Earth.

In these days of December in the Arctic circle (66.5 degrees North latitude) polar night sets in. The polar night does not necessarily mean total darkness for 24 hours. Its main feature is that the Sun rises above the horizon. For example, the polar night at the latitude of Murmansk lasts 40 days, from 2 December to 10 January. Its peak falls on December 21-22. At the North pole of the Earth are seen not only Sun, but also there is no twilight, and the location of the light can be known only through the constellations. Completely different picture in the South pole of Earth in Antarctica this time of day lasts all day and night.

For millennia this day was of great importance for all peoples of our planet who lived in harmony with the natural cycles and organize their lives in accordance with them. Most Church buildings focused on the sunrise or sunset at the winter solstice. From the most ancient times people worshiped the Sun, knowing that its light and heat affects their lives on earth. For them, the winter solstice symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. Now a day to grow and night to fall.

In Russia with the winter solstice was connected a special rite. To the king on the bow was plaiting the head of the Kremlin, which was responsible for the chiming clock. He proclaimed that now the Sun turned to summer: day increases and the night decreases. The proverb says: «the Sun is for summer, winter — the cold». In these cold days, our ancestors made each other gifts, going caroling, jumped over the fire, danced, competed in force. On what was the winter solstice, determined the harvest in the next year. If the trees have frost, so there will be a rich harvest.

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