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Winter solstice 2019

Topics covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Winter solstice 2019

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: All about Winter Solstice- its occurrence, why it occurs, significance and changes associated.

Context: Winter Solstice this year falls on December 22.

For Prelims and Mains:

What is Winter Solstice?

  • The winter solstice happens every year when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted farthest away from the Sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year.
  • The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December solstice and is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year.
  • The day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June.

What does ‘solstice’ mean?

The term ‘solstice’ derives from the Latin word ‘solstitium’, meaning ‘Sun standing still’. On this day the Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction as it reaches its southernmost position as seen from the Earth. Some prefer the more teutonic term ‘sunturn’ to describe the event.

Sources: toi.