Solstice, Venus being bright, Geminids are coming…

Winter approacheth.

Viewed from the Pacific Northwest region, Whidbey Island in the state of Washington to be almost exact (like an “exact approximation?), Winter Solstice for 2013 takes place 9:11 a.m. PST on the 21st of December.

Some will refer to Winter Solstice as the shortest day of the year, which is not entirely correct.  In a literal sense all days are of equal length. In a figurative sense it is the hours of light (daylight and dark) that many think hits a least value on solstice.

Today’s sunset will take place at 4:18 p.m. PST.  Tomorrow, the sixth day of December of 2013, our sunset will happen at 4:17 p.m. PST. For the next ten days sunset will happen at this same 4:17 p.m. PST.  Finally, on the sixteenth day of December the sun will set a minute later and start on the never-ending cycle of setting-later-each-day-for-while journey.

Meanwhile, in the eastern sky the sun seems to be later in its arrival each morning; finally crossing eight o’clock on the twenty-second of December– the day after winter solstice!  While sunset is already getting later each day, so too is sunrise occurring later each morning.  Its latest arrival being 8:02 a.m. PST on the fourth of January, 2014.  Finally on the fifth of January the time of the sun’s breaking the eastern horizon recedes by a minute and, though three months away, the lengthening days bring thoughts of spring.

Latest sunrise:  8:02 a.m. PST, 28 Dec ’13 through 04 Jan ’14. Earliest sunset: 4:17 p.m. PST, 06 Dec ’13 through 15 Dec ’13.

The shortest period (hours:minutes) of daylight bounces back and forth…

  • 17 Dec : 8:21
  • 18 Dec : 8:20
  • 19 Dec : 8:21
  • 20 Dec : 8:20
  • 21 Dec: 8:21 — Winter Solstice at 9:11 a.m.
  • 22 Dec : 8:20
  • 23 Dec : 8:21
  • 24 Dec : 8:20
  • 25 Dec : 8:21 — Christ is born, the days become longer.
  • 26 Dec : 8:22

Further reading…

http://earthsky.org/tonight/earliest-sunset-today-but-not-shortest-day

Venus being very bright, tonight is brightest…

http://earthsky.org/tonight  just after sunset.

A meteor shower, Geminid, is coming soon:

http://earthsky.org/tonight/moonlit-nights-for-the-december-2013-geminid-meteor-shower