Solstice time again. | Interested In Everything

If all goes to plan and I manage to get this post finished before Christmas, we should be about to experience the shortest day.  The December solstice occurs when the sun is at its southernmost point of the year and marks the beginning of astronomical winter in the northern hemisphere (and summer in the southern hemisphere), which is technically the shortest season.  This year, this will happen at 16:28 GMT on the 21st December.

 

In astronomical terms, a season is defined as the time between a solstice and an equinox and length varies slightly, with the time between the December solstice and March equinox being a few minutes short of 89 days.

 

It’s quite interesting to note the variation in season length – the longest season is our northern hemisphere summer at just over 93.5 days.  This occurs because the Earth is much closer to the sun during December and January, meaning the Earth is moving slightly quicker in its orbit.

 

So, winter is officially here and I’m finishing off the last of the coursework marking before I have a few days off over Christmas.  Have a great Christmas and New Year and I’ll be back posting my usual ramblings again at the beginning of January.

 

*****

 

While I was flicking through the news yesterday, I learned of the passing of Professor Heinz Wolff, who died on the 15th December aged 89.  If you’re of a certain age, you may well remember The Great Egg Race – a TV programme I very rarely missed when I were a lad and one that never ceased to fascinate.  I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Professor Wolff was huge influence on my early interest in science and technology and had a wonderful talent at making science come to life.  I met him (admittedly very briefly) at an awards ceremony back in the mid-1990s and he was extremely friendly and entertaining.  He will be sadly missed.

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