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NOW Atlantic: Smart thinking for a changing world
Old man winter has been hanging out across Atlantic Canada for more than a month now but at 6:23 tomorrow afternoon, it will – after all the early cold and snow – officially be winter. Climatological winter, that is: meteorological winter runs from Dec. 1 to the end of February. That’s a different story for another time.
The winter solstice marks the arrival of the winter season. It occurs at the moment the sun shines at its most southern point, or directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. It marks the shortest day of the year in terms of hours of daylight. The word solstice means “sun stand” or “sun stands still.”
Many people are under the impression that our distance from the sun causes the seasons but it’s the tilt of the Earth that gives us winter and summer.
Is your glass half full or have empty? While the solstice signals the shortest day of the year, it’s also a signal of more daylight to come in the following days!
Speaking of the following days, Grandma watched the weather very closely in December. She also kept an eye on the moon. She believed the nearer the New Moon to Christmas Day, the more severe the winter would be. This year, the December New Moon was on the Dec. 7 – 18 days before Christmas. I’m sure many of you are happy to hear that one!
While we’re on the topic of the moon, the December full moon, the Full Cold Moon will also appear on the night of Dec. 21, though it will not be at its absolute peak until midafternoon the next day.
So keep your eyes peeled for a near Winter Solstice Full Moon on Friday; it’s a fairly rare occurrence. The next full moon to coincide with a winter solstice won’t be until 2094!