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