Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice.....

...... is the time at which the Sun is appearing at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. 

Sunrise at Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice

In the Northern Hemisphere this is the Southern solstice, the time at which the Sun is at its southernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year.

In the Southern Hemisphere this is the Northern solstice, the time at which the Sun is at its northernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on June 20 to 21 each year.

The axial tilt of Earth and gyroscopic effects of the planet's daily rotation keep the axis of rotation pointed at the same point in the sky. 

As the Earth follows its orbit around the Sun, the same hemisphere that faced away from the Sun, experiencing winter, will, in half a year, face towards the Sun and experience summer.

 Since the two hemispheres face opposite directions along the planetary pole, as one polar hemisphere experiences winter, the other experiences summer.

More evident from high latitudes, a hemisphere's winter solstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun's daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest. 

Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as "midwinter", "the longest night", "the shortest day" or "the first day of winter". 

The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most Northern Hemisphere cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

 Here at Cortijo Azahar on the Costa Tropical of Andalucia it seems to be summer all year around.

Today, with the temperature a mild 20 degrees, we have celebrated the Solstice by bringing new life into the Garden. 

We have planted  a dark purple Heliotrope, a salmon pink climbing Rose,  some fragrant white Ginger,  Kerria japonica,  Cestrum cultum and Callisia fragrans. 

Callisia fragrans