12/20/2016 – Ephemeris – The last full day of autumn
Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 20th. The Sun will rise at 8:16. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:04. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 12:46 tomorrow morning.
Today is the last full day of autumn. Tomorrow at 5:45 a.m. winter will begin as the Sun passes the winter solstice and stops its southward movement in the sky. Immediately it will slowly climb northward again. It will lengthen the daytime hours and increase the power of the Sun as it gets higher in our sky. The cooling of the northern hemisphere will continue until late January, on average, until the lengthening days and increased solar altitude will finally overcome it. Prescientific cultures weren’t all that sure that Sun would come back, since they didn’t understand what was really happening. So when the solstice finally arrived it was a time for great celebrations which survive to this day.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.
Take heart snow haters. Winter is the shortest season. You’ll find out why in early January.