Dec 21 2009

The Sun Stands Still

Published by at 8:07 am under Musings & News,Weather & Sky

Sun pillar in Pittsburgh (photo by Kate St. John)Today is the winter solstice, the day the sun stands still.  That’s what it means in Latin:  sol is sun and stice is from sistere meaning to stand still.

I doubt that most modern day people notice the sun stops its southward movement today, pauses, and in the days ahead begins to move north. 

We can afford to ignore it.  We have electricity and our days aren’t governed by the sun’s movement so we can safely leave the calculations of its passage to others.  They’ll let us know.

Besides, the change is slow, something our brains have little patience to observe.  We’re wired to notice rapid movement because it can mean danger or food. 

Our gadgets take advantage of this trait and provide a constant source of movement and distraction.  I know this all too well.  My computer and cell phone distract me all the time.  The up side is that my cell phone can take pictures like this one of a sun pillar.

Sun pillars are usually brief events that occur when the sun is close to the horizon and its light reflects on ice crystals that have nearly horizontal and parallel planar surfaces.  In other words, the ice crystals lined up just right and so did the sun. 

Will I notice the sun standing still today?  No.  I’m glad someone told me about it.

(photo of a sun pillar in Pittsburgh by Kate St. John)

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “The Sun Stands Still”

  1. Kathyon 21 Dec 2009 at 9:38 am

    Kate, Thank you for these wonderful pieces of information every day! They make me feel sooo intellectual. I even manage to throw some items into group conversation from time to time. Although, when asked how I knew that, I would love to let people think I am just plain brilliant, I don’t. I give your blog credit and I even forward the website so they can enjoy future articles too. I appreciate all the time and effort you put into them.

    Before this week gets any crazier than it already is, I want to say Merry Christmas to you and wish you and your family many, many blessing in 2010! Be safe, be happy and celebrate with those you love.

    Thank you again!!
    Kathy

  2. Vicki & Chuckon 21 Dec 2009 at 7:11 pm

    You are a gift, Kate. Have a lovely Christmas, a good end to 2009, and a 2010 filled with nourishing experiences.
    Chuck and Vicki

  3. Tracion 22 Dec 2009 at 8:51 am

    Kate – Thank you for this and for all that you do!
    Merry Christmas and Have a Blessed New Year!!

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