Personal solstices

Photos from EarthSky community members around the world, showing what this week’s solstice – bringing winter to half of Earth, and summer to the other half – meant to them.

Judy Glattstein in New Jersey wrote, “Houses here are spread apart. No chimneys, no standing stones. But in the cold of a solstice morning the trees serve to define the rising of the sun.”

Esther Bartkiw in Torremolinos, Spain in captured this image at 11:44 a.m. local time (10:44 UTC) on December 21, 2016 and wrote: “Taken on the beach at the moment of solstice.”

Andrea Deegan caught this image at the moment of today’s solstice, too. But it was the summer solstice, not the winter solstice, at Oyster Harbour, Australia, and the time on the clock was 6:44 p.m. loca time (still 10:44 UTC). Thank you, Andrea!

Karl Diefenderfer in Yardley, Pennsylvania wrote: “First light of winter 2016.” For the entire globe, this solstice marks the most southerly sunrise of the year. For the Northern Hemisphere, it means a low sun crossing the sky throughout the day.

“Happy winter solstice!” from Steve Scanlon Photography. This morning’s frozen Navesink River, Red Bank, New Jersey. December 21, 2016. 6:44 a.m.

As the sun rises on the morning of solstice – December 21, 2016 – on a cloudy day at Grant Park Beach in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Heather Kamine.

These next few are all about shadows. Ben Orlove wrote: “On the mornings close to the winter solstice, when the sun’s course is at its lowest and southernmost, the shadow of a chimney across the street from my building falls directly on the peak of the adjacent roof and lands on the wall next to it. Our own Stonehenge!” Read more about this image.

Capturing the year’s longest noontime shadow in Hyderabad, India. Photo by PadmaSri Naidu.

Ramón Ruiz Velasco in Guadalajara, Mexico wrote: “Because the latitude of Guadalajara is approximately 20 degrees north, the angle of the sun at the winter solsticie is 45 degrees. Applying geometric calculus shows the tangent in 45 degrees is equal to # 1 value, which makes that any shadow measure exactly the same as its height.”

Athens, Greece at noon on the day of the solstice – December 21, 2016 – by Nikolaos Pantazis. Notice the long shadows!

On the morning of the solstice, the moon was a fat waning crescent in the morning sky. Waning crescent winter solstice moon (46.3% ) in the west at 10:01 am. – December 21, 2016 – in Dublin, Ireland by Deidre Horan.

Paula J Quatkemeyer wrote: “A little solstice sun fun through my sweet tree-of-life dreamcatcher on this first morning of winter 2016. Here’s to hoping all of your dreams come true.”

The December 21 solstice sun set in style in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Photo by Peter Lowenstein.

Autumn’s final autumn sunset of 2016 from Murphy, Texas by Jennifer Hagewood Nugent. She wrote: “Happy winter solstice, everyone!” and quoted Mattie Stepanek when she said: “Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.”

The bright planet Venus in the west, after a wonderful solstice eve sunset in Hartford, Connecticut, from Russ Olinatz. Thanks, Russ!

Teresa Van Hoy caught this image on December 20, 2016, and wrote: “Seeking sun splendor in Taos Pueblo, NM.”

A sombre solstice eve on the Upper Lake at Glendalough County, Wicklow, Ireland. Photo taken December 20, 2016 by Cairbre Ó Ciardha.

Deborah Byrd