5 Facts Everyone Must Know Now That The Solstice Is Over
“2.) Anyone living north of the 43rd parallel will, on the Winter Solstice, never have the Sun rise higher in the sky than it appears all day at the South Pole!
That’s right, the South Pole — one of our favorite metaphors for a cold, dark, remote place — will have the Sun be higher above the horizon all day than locations like Madison, WI, Portland, OR, all of Germany, Poland, England and nearly all of Russia will see at any time during the day! In fact, for a modest location like Portland, OR, with a latitude of 45.6 degrees N, it will take around a week for the Sun to reach an angle above the horizon that exceeds what you’d see at the South Pole, while for an observer in Anchorage, AK, that won’t happen for another six weeks!”
How high does the Sun reach in the sky? Why do short days with the Sun dipping low on the horizon mean the next full Moon is bright and big? And why is Earth so close to the Sun during the winter solstice, but not the summer solstice? There’s so much we’ve learned about not only our enormous, expanding Universe, but the cosmic objects right here in our own backyard, including our own Sun, Moon, and Earth. For those of you who know Latin, there’s a reason it’s named the “solstice,” because the Sun literally “stands still,” relative to the day before and after, in its path across the sky. And perhaps most exciting of all, there’s a bonus special anniversary that occurs on the winter solstice: the launch of the very first spacecraft to take human being out of Earth’s orbit and to (and around) the Moon.