Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice!

It’s Winter Solstice for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. And every year they announce on the news that the Solstice occurs at (this) date and time. For 2009, it’s December 21, 8:47 AM Alaska Standard Time. (Alaska’s one hour behind Pacific time to calculate the solstice in your area).

I’d always thought of the solstice as the day—the longest or shortest day of the year. So what did the time mean? This year, I decided to find out. It might be common knowledge to the rest of you but I found it quite fascinating. The time indicates the exact moment when the sun’s rays hit (at a 90 degree angle) the Tropic of Capricorn. That’s the farthest south point the sun’s rays can be directly overhead. The Summer Solstice occurs when the sun’s rays are directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer.

Today is also the time when sun’s rays do not hit the Arctic Circle and they experience 24-hours of darkness.

Some ancient cultures and religions celebrate this day as the start of the New Year, the return of the Sun God.
For many areas, this day officially “starts” Winter.

For Alaskans, we’ve been experiencing “winter” for two months now and what this day means is…we start gaining sunlight. Just a little. Tomorrow we’ll probably gain about 10 seconds. Doesn’t matter. It’s more sunlight. And when you live in a dark climate, every little bit of sunlight helps!

Let the sun shine in! And Happy Christmas!

Total Side Note:
Taking Shape is being re-released on January 1, 2010. It was originally part of the Transformations Anthology. Check it out. It’s funny and sexy and I had a great time writing this story.

As a shapeshifter, Nick Conner can turn into anything or anyone he touches. Along with his brothers and sister, he uses this unique gift for private investigations. But something about their newest case doesn’t sit right. Their client isn’t being honest and their target, Tally, seems way too sweet to be a crook.

Or maybe it’s that Nick wants her to be innocent.

But now he has an even bigger challenge on his hands. He’s made love to Tally in another man’s form—how can he convince her to love the man he truly is


Juniper Bell said...

Thanks so much for sharing that information, you're right, it is fascinating! We may gain only ten seconds more light tomorrow, but psychologically, it really makes a difference. Happy Solstice!

Ida Brugler said...

Winter is just starting here in Ohio Brrr.. Got our first snow of the season.
Taking shape sounds wonderful. I will look forward to its release! A date i will not forget. the 1st is also my oldes son's birthday.

Happy Solstice!

LizeeS said...

Awesome, Tielle. I love info like this. And even here in Minnesota, where it's still a little light at 4:15, we are all for adding however many seconds of light we possibly can from now on. But, yes, now we start the official season of cold here--our 10,000 lakes don't give nearly enough currents to warm the air!
Happy Solstice!

Boone Brux said...

Oh that dirty dog, Nick. I can't wait to read his story! As for winter solstic, in our household it is as big as garbage day. We announce it, do a happy dance, and smile knowing that tomorrow it will be a little brighter a little longer. I lived in Barrow for four years and at this time of year, when moon waned, it was dark. December 21 was big when living in the Arctic, but the first day that the sun peeked above the horizon was even bigger. For me, I embrace the shortest day of the year, but happily let it go.

Happy New Year.

Kianna Alexander said...

Hi, Tielle,
Experiencing my first Alaskan winter has been a little bleak...but it's good to know the sun will shine again...and for long enough to be noticed!

Sallie said...

Happy Holidays!