Winter solstice moon

Photo courtesy of mettamusings

The shortest day of the year  

December 21, 2008 marks the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, for those living north of the equator. The word solstice derives from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) and the astronomical event takes place two times each year. This years 2008 winter solstice is on December 21st. The official beginning of Winter is also the beginning of the countdown to Spring.

The winter solstice can actually be calculated down to the second and it occurs at the instant when the Suns position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance from the observer. Even though the event is instantaneous, the full 24-hour period is commonly considered the winter solstice. Most in North America recognize the seasonal significance of the longest night as the first day of winter (much of the northern United States has received plenty of snowfall and share of colder weather conditions this month), a time of cold-weather activities like snowman building, skating, skiing, and snowboarding.

Winter Solstice 2008

There’s an interesting article, A Solstice Tribute, Shorter Than the Day Is Long in The New York Times.

Winter Solstice Moon
Annette Marie Hyder
Previously published in Eclectica Magazine

Peering over my shoulder
licking at my skin
like a cat
with its pull
a rasping tongue

and like a cat
hard to predict
what will a moon
like that
do next?

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