The Winter Solstice


The winter solstice occurs in 2018 on Friday, December 21, at 2:23pm PST (22:23 UT), when the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn. This is considered the shortest day of the year for those north of the equator. It's the time when the Sun appears at its southernmost point in its path around the sky. At this time the Sun has the least amount of distance to travel from horizon to horizon, hence the shorter the day. Compare the distance traveled by winter Sun in the image below to the distance traveled by the summer Sun in this image.

Solstice means "Sun stands still". The Sun's path stops shifting far south in the winter and stands still readying itself to move northward (vice versa in summer).


The Sun and Moon at the Winter Solstice

Image: Star Gazer graphic made with TheSky Astronomy Software
Positions shown at one hour intervals for mid Northern latitudes.


The Paths of the Sun and Moon

At the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere the Sun's annual path across the sky is at its lowest, or closest to the southern horizon, while the Moon's path is at its highest north. The Sun and Moon appear to reverse positions at the summer solstice with the Sun at its highest north and the Moon at it's lowest south. Image

Within each month the Moon has a northern and southern range of moonrise / set points. It is at its highest one day and two weeks later at its lowest. It takes the Sun one year to accomplish this range of movement. This occurs because the Moon makes a full orbit around the Earth each month and follows a similar path across the sky that takes the Sun a year to complete.

Note: The Moon swings its highest for the year near the winter solstice and its lowest for the year near the summer solstice. We experienced an extreme high and low 18.6–19 year cycle in 2005 and 2006 called a lunar standstill season. See Moon Swings ~ Highs and Lows to learn more.


Does the Sun always rise in the east?

This photo by Anthony Ayiomamitis shows the wide swing of the rising Sun. In Athens, Greece the sunrise from southeast to northeast varies by more than 65 degrees. The Sun rises due east only at the time of the spring and autumn equinox.

Sun's Seasonal Path


Hmmm ... Why are there 9 shortest days?!?!

Sunrise Sunset Calendars shows 9 shortest days for San Francisco for December 2018. The "Day length" of each shortest day is 9 hours and 35 minutes, December 18–26!

This occurs because the declination of the Sun changes or varies only slightly during the solstices. The analemma, an unsymmetrical figure-8 shape of the Sun’s daily position at the same time, illustrates this concept with its flattening at both ends.

The length of daylight (as measured in minutes) is pretty much the same for several days or more, both at the winter and also the summer solstice. If you were to do the calculations down to the exact second of time, then the shortest amount of daylight would coincide with the time of the solstice. Thank-you James Davis and Joe Rao / Skywatching Columnist for these valued insights.

BTW: If the first days of December feel shorter than the days around the solstice, it’s because the Sun sets earlier in the beginning of December. Most people gauge the length of a day by the time of the sunset. To find the total hours and minutes of daylight you must know when the Sun rises and sets.

Why isn't the earliest sunset on the shortest day?
This link is bound to expand your horizons.
Warning: You may not achieve full understanding.
Important Concept: The day as measured from true solar noon
to true solar noon exceeds 24 hours near the solstices.
Learn more about solar time.

December solstice brings longest days for whole Earth
Here's another mind expanding article that takes
one into the realms of clock time and solar time.


Spiritual Significance of the Winter Solstice

Global Meditations ~ December Solstice

There are a variety of solstice global meditations occurring at various times during the day. Participate in one or more of these meditations to strengthen the Light Grid of planet Earth. Those living in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are participating in December's solstice meditations.

Solstice Exact: Friday, December 21, 2018
at 2:23pm PST (22:23

Planetary Solstice Meditation
24-Hour Solstice Period:
12 hours before and after the
exact solstice time listed above.

The Spiritual Hierarchy enters meditation in
preparation for the outpouring of Wesak energies.
You are invited to participate in this receptive
planetary meditation and align with the new
potent cycle of spiritual approach. This 24-hour
period is dedicated to the high meditation taking
place on the inner planes. Join in at any time.
Use a candle or light in a window or sacred
space to represent the spirit being invoked.
This is an opportunity to become aware of
the cosmic energies that are influencing
us and the possibilities they offer
humanity for spiritual evolution.
* * *
Additional Links of Interest
Significance of the December Solstice
The astronomical and meditative timing of this cycle
affects all of Earth and its spiritual evolution
* * *
Empowering Our Planetary Grid of Transfiguring Divine Love
Gain greater insight, encouragement, clarity,
and understanding, as we progress through these
wondrous but often challenging times on Earth.
Listen to and download replay.


December Global Solstice Meditation
(Stay tuned for the 2018 update.)
Begins 29 mins. before the exact solstice.
OR ...
Choose a time that suits you.

A 30-min. recording includes a 10-min.
guided meditation and several inspiring
musical tracks. It is designed to be used
for the 2017 winter solstice and anytime
during the new 2018 spiritual cycle. The
cornerstone of our global spiritual work
at this time is finding Balance, initiating
Resonance and shining Radiance. You may
want to note down any strong images or
feelings, or elements of new spiritual
understanding that you may have
experienced during the meditation,
so that you may refer to them later
to integrate them into your daily life.
A New Earth is slowly emerging from
the depths of our immortal Self as we
reconnect with the Source of All in us.


Global Solstice Meditation
For the Oceans and the Cetaceans

December Solstice: Anytime

This is a beautiful meditation that
includes stunning pictures,
inspirational words and
18 minutes of wonderful music.
Anyone who participates will be
sending as well as receiving a healing!
Marine Animal Meditation Music by Kauwila


Worldwide Didgeridoo Meditation
December Solstice at Sunset

This a worldwide link-up of people supporting
environmental and personal awareness.
It is held on the equinoxes and solstices.
Starting at sunset participants are asked to
play or listen to meditative music
(preferably didgeridoos) for 45 minutes
and then sit silently for 15 minutes.
(Be with us in spirit as much as you can
during that hour beginning at sunset.)
This wave meditation starts in New Zealand,
is followed by Australia, Asia, Arab countries,
Israel, Africa, Europe, with America,
Canada, Middle and South America
completing the world wide circle.
Participants Worldwide
Global Sunrise Sunset Times


Current and Ongoing Global Meditations

I'd like to know your thoughts about The Night Sky and ...
send me an email
May your Night Sky traveling always be filled
with Celestial Delights and Treats!
Susan Sun


Print Friendly Page


Bookmark and Share


Donate Now Button

Thank You for Your Heartfelt
Participation & Generosity!

Participate with Us



Search site:


Discovering the Heavens
The Night Sky
The Planets
Choosing a Telescope
Cosmology ~ Highlights
Cosmology's Recommended Links
Glossary of Esoteric Terms & Phrases Site Map Home