Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Sun Will Stand Still at 11:32 PM Tomorrow Night


Tomorrow night at precisely 11:32 p.m., the earth will reach the maximum tilt of its northern hemisphere toward the sun and will appear to stand still for a micro-second (solstice means "sun stands still") before beginning its tilt back south toward our winter. Solstice because ancient man thought the sun revolved around us, rather than vice versa.

As earth rotates around the sun, it's always tilted on its axis at a 23.5-degree angle. Because of this tilt, the latitudes of 23.5 degrees north (called the Tropic of Cancer) and 23.5 degrees south (called the Tropic of Capricorn) become important for the summer and the winter solstices. The tilt gives us our seasons, our meteorological changes, our summer gardens. If Earth had no tilt and was just straight up and down, there would never be a winter or a summer.

If you're a Druid, or other observant pagan, it's the holiest moment of the year. Many, many early cultures began calendar keeping after observing both the summer and the winter solstices. The winter solstice got highjacked centuries ago for Christmas, which is why pagans still hold tight to the summer solstice. At Stonehenge, they'll be solemnizing a religious ceremony in robes and crowns of flowers. (It'll be 4:32 pm GMT at Stonehenge when the sun actually stands still, since Stonehenge is five hours ahead of us. The modern Stonehenge Druids are mostly into sunrise observances on June 21st rather than the exact moment the tilting earth stops its tilt and begins its trip back).

My bucket list includes being at Stonehenge at sunrise on June 21st. Just once. Then we can go have tea.


Tom Fisher said...

Gimmie that Old Time Religion!

Anonymous said...

That would make it 11:32 AM...or my math is off.