(Yeah, I know that I’m about the 1,499,372nd person today to use some variation on that title for their blog post, but that’s what it is, so sue me!)
Once again we find ourselves at one of the two primary points in our planet’s orbit we can use as a basis for our calendar, completely free of all of our arbitrary and random units of months, weeks, hours, and minutes. The solstice is so fundamental that it was noted and worshiped by almost every civilization, from the Druids to the Romans to the Chinese to the Egyptians to the American Indians to the Incas to the Mesopotamians…
It’s so fundamental that you don’t need to have invented clocks or telescopes or math or science. It’s so fundamental that if space-faring aliens landed tomorrow, this could be an observation-based point in time every year that we could use as an anchor point for starting communications.
The day is clearly defined by the rotation of the planet, and the year is clearly defined by the length of time it takes the planet to orbit the sun. But without more advanced astronomy and math to figure out the perihelion and aphelion points (closest and furthest points from the sun in the planet’s elliptical orbit), the solstices can still be found through simple observation.
So, Happy Solstice!
On a completely unrelated note, while putting up yet more Christmas lights (one nice lady passing by with her dog loves the lights but couldn’t believe I was putting up more – she don’t know me very well, do she?), the Los Angeles sunset was spectacular! These pictures pretty accurately represent the colors as it started golden, got intense, changed to orange, to purple, to crimson, back to purple, and finally faded.