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21 December Solstice 2012 - Winter Solstice Northern Hemisphere - Summer Solstice Southern Hemisphere

 

The Tropic of Capricorn and the Solstice 21 December 2012 - Examples of the Sun at its Zenith - directly above ones head.

 

 

 

Earth is now closer to the Sun than it was in June.  Earth reaches closest approach (perihelion) during early January.

Although Earth has its Capricorn Solstice during December and marks winter for the northern hemisphere and summer for the southern hemisphere, the Earth is now closer to the Sun than it was in June.  Earth reaches closest approach (perihelion) during early January.

 

Earth reaches closest approach  to the Sun (Perihelion) 02 January 2013 at 04hours 38 minutes UT/GMT

Distance; 147,098,161km /  91,402,559 miles / 0.983290474 AU

 

 

 

 

Earth is closer to the Sun during December than it was in June.  Earth reaches its closest approach (perihelion) to the Sun during early January.

Although Earth has its Capricorn Solstice during December and marks winter for the northern hemisphere and summer for the southern hemisphere, the Earth is now closer to the Sun than it was in June.  Earth reaches closest approach (perihelion) during early January.

 

Earth reaches closest approach  to the Sun (Perihelion) 02 January 2013 at 04hours 38 minutes UT/GMT

 

 

distance; 147,098,161km /  91,402,559 miles / 0.983290474 AU

 

 

 

World Map showing Five main Latitudes of Earth and ten countries through which the Tropic of Capricorn passes - click map to enlarge or

click to download and save high quality World Map Five Main Latitudes of Earth to your computer

 

There are five major lines of latitude on Earth

and the Tropic of Capricorn passes through ten main countries of the southern hemisphere

The Tropic of Capricorn is the dividing line between

the Southern Temperate Zone to the south and the tropics to the north

Quick Facts and Summary

 

The Tropic of Capricorn, (sometimes called The Southern Tropic) marks the most southerly latitude on Earth at which the Sun can be viewed directly overhead. The event occurs during December at the southern hemispheres summer solstice.

 

The positions of the Tropic of Capricorn is not fixed because the axial tilt of Earth changes slowly. Earth fluctuates between about 22.1° and 24.5° over a period of 41,000 years. At the moment [to the nearest 4th decimal point] the Earth has an Axil Tilt (or obliquity) of 23.4393°  

 

The two Tropical Circles (The Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer) are each drifting towards the equator by 15 metres (meters) or 49 feet every year, resulting in the area of the Tropics decreasing by approximately 1100 square km / 424.71 square miles per year.

 

Tropic of Capricorn currently (2012) lies at 23° 26′ 16″South;  but back in the year 1917 it was 23° 27' 0″South.

 

Likewise the Arctic Circle and Antarctic Circle are both decreasing in size, each is currently drifting towards their respective Poles at  a rate of about 15m or 49 feet per year.  The change is slow but nevertheless it affects and changes Earth’s overall and regional climate.  

Diagram_Winter_Summer_Solstice_December_2012_image_Eclipse_Geeks.png

 

The Tropic of Capricorn passes though ten Countries of the World

 

Namibia, Botswana,South Africa, Mozambique, Mozambique Channel,

Indian Ocean, Madagascar, Indian Ocean, Australia, Coral Sea, Pacific Ocean, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Atlantic Ocean.

 

and these areas of the world

Mozambique Channel,

Indian Ocean, Coral Sea, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean.

Diagram -Seasons of Earth and Seasons

lick image to view a much more detailed diagram.

Geography_Seasons_of_Earth_Orbit_in_relation_to_Su

Seasons of Earth and position of Earth in relation to the Sun

The seasons of the year are not caused by Earth’s distance from the Sun but are caused by the tilt of Earth’s Axis (or obliquity) 23.4393°

 

There is also a time lag effect on Earth’s climate, and although the winter December Solstice for the northern hemisphere is the shortest day of the year, with its longest night and shortest daylight hours, it Is not the coldest day. Equally the December Solstice marks the Southern Hemisphere longest day of the year, but it is not its hottest.

 

The reason is due to the oceans which take time to change temperature and hold on to heat or coldness for several weeks. The Northern Hemisphere gets coldest late January to early February, by this time the Northern Hemisphere oceans have lost the warmth of summer, and although the Sun is higher in the sky each day, and the Northern Hemisphere is receiving more heat from the Sun, it gets coldest, because the oceans are now also cold.

 

The same applies to the Southern Hemisphere and although 21 December 2012 marks the Southern Hemisphere’s longest day, with the most daylight hours and receives the most radiation form the Sun, it Is not the hottest, because the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere are still cool form the winter and take time to warm. It is not until late January or early February when the oceans have begun to become warm, and release the heat back into the atmosphere, making late January or early February as the warmest months of the year.

South_Pole_Sun-Antractica_IceCube_image_Eclipse_Geeks.jpeg

December Solstice at the South Pole, Antarctica

While the Sun is directly above your head at the Tropic of Capricorn on 21 December 2012, it never gets any higher than 23.4393° at the South Pole, the Sun is always low on the horizon and a single day is six months long.

 

IceCube Neutrino Observatory

The photograph on the left is of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole, Antarctica. IceCube is a particle detector that searches and records the interactions of neutrinos - very near to being massless sub-atomic particles.  

Noon - Midday Sun - Antarctica, Soltice  

 

Theoretically Antarctica includes all Time Zones of the World since all lines of longitude converge at the South Pole.

In every day practise Antarctica time is based on one of following three times; territorial claims by individual countries using time of their own country; some countries use UTC/GMT, and others use the time zone of the town or city from which supplies are sent, such as those based at McMurdo Station and Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, who use New Zealand Time due to their supply base being from Christchurch, New Zealand.

However, if we use Antarctica Time with Earth as a Sundial, then the Sun is at its highest elevation about 23.4393° above the horizon on the 21 December 2012; it takes three months to get there, and will not set until the March Equinox in 2013, so in reality it is midday as far as Antarctica is concerned. And it is a bit more romantic and somewhat a dream to think of it that way. After all it was a dream which took the Apollo missions to the Moon and landed humans on another world. And next it will be Mars.

AntarcticaIce, South Pole,  IceCube Neutrino Observatory

photo credit; Jim Haugen/ National Science Foundation/NSF  

Example_Image_un_directly_overhead_shadow_directly

The photograph on the left shows what it is like when the Sun is directly above your head. We do not have details of the photographer nor of the individuals in the picture. However, we do know that it was not actually taken at the Tropic of Capricorn, nevertheless the principle is the same, and it does show the Sun at its Zenith above ones head as it would appear at the Tropic of Capricorn. Notice that ones shadow is directly beneath.  

 

 

image_Sun_Solstice_Palm_Tress_Shadow_directly_Bene

Another example of the Sun at its Zenith and is directly above one’s head. Shadows are cast directly downwards.

 

Compare it to the Suns position at Antarctica where the Sun is low in the sky, while at the Tropic of Capricorn it is directly above 90° to the horizon.  Again this photo is not from the Tropic of Capricorn but it  nevertheless shows the Sun at its zenith 90° to the horizon as it appears at the Tropic of Capricorn.

click image to enlarge

photo is copyright free

 

            Five Major Latitudes of Earth and their coordinates

 

Arctic Circle 66.5622°N or 66° 33′ 44″

Tropic of Cancer 23.5°N or (23° 26′ 16″ N)

 

Equator 0° latitude

 

Tropic of Capricorn  23.5S or (23° 26′ 16″ S)

Antarctic Circle ; 66°5622°S or (66° 33′ 44″ S)

Seasons of Earth and position of Earth in relation to the Sun

save larger and more detailed diagram to your computer

It is important to point out.

The position of the Tropic of Capricorn is not fixed because the axial tilt of Earth changes slowly.

Current Axil Tilt (or obliquity) of 23.4393°  

Earth fluctuates between about 22.1° and 24.5° over a period of 41,000 years.

The two Tropical Circles (The Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer) are each drifting towards the equator by 15 metres (meters) or 49 feet every year. Resulting in the area of the Tropics decreasing by approximately 1100 square km / 424.71 square miles per year.

 

Also the Arctic Circle and Antarctic Circle are both decreasing in size.

Each is currently drifting towards their respective Poles at  a rate of about 15m or 49 feet per year.

The change is slow but nevertheless it affects and changes Earth’s overall and regional climate.

 

World_Map_diagram_of_5_main_latitudes_of_Earth_Eclipse_Geeks.jpeg

in brief about a Solstice and the Tropical region of Earth

 

Explanation of a solstice. The solstice is an event that occurs twice each year when the Sun reaches its farthest point north or south of Earth's Equator, and is directly over either the Tropic of Capricorn or the Tropic of Cancer. As of 2012/2013 the Tropic of Capricorn is currently at 23.5°south (or to high precision 23° 26′ 16″South) While the Tropic of Cancer is 23.5°north (or to high precision 23° 26′ 16″ North)

 

All regions of Earth outside the Tropical Zone will experience the Sun at either its highest or lowest point in the sky. When the Sun is at its Zenith over the Tropic of Capricorn (Zenith = directly overhead) all latitudes south of Capricorn will experience the Sun at its highest point in the sky and mark the longest day of the year and beginning of summer. Those north of the Equator will experience the shortest hours of daylight, with the Sun at its lowest point in the sky for the year, and is the beginning of the northern hemisphere's winter..

 

At the South Pole the Sun will be at its highest point in the sky of the year and the 21 December 2012 will mark the midday noon for Antarctica’s day. A single Antarctica day at the South Pole lasts for six months. Sunrise occurred 22nd September 2012 at 14 hours 49 minutes UT/GMT. Midday is 21st December 2012 at 11 hours 12 minutes UT/GMT and the Sun will set 20th March 2013 at 11 hours 02 minutes UT/GMT.                

 

The two Tropical Circles are not fixed but each is drifting towards the equator by about 15 metres (meters) per year (49 feet) and the area of the Tropics (Torrid Zone) is decreasing by approximately 1100 square km / 424.71 square miles every year.

 

The Tropic of Capricorn passes through the following regions, towns, cities and landmarks.

 

Argentina; Andes Mountains, The Pampas, San Salvador de Jujuy

 

Australia:-

 

Western Australia; Paraburdoo, Newman, Lake Disappointment, Gibson Desert.

 

Northern territory; Alice Springs, Haast Bluff.

 

Queensland; Longreach, Great Dividing Range, Emerald, Gracemere, Rockhampton,

 

Botswana; Kalahari Desert, Khutse Game Reserve, Kule, Mahalapye.

 

Brazil; Itaquaquecetuba, Mogi das Cruzes, Maringá, São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, São Paulo, Sorocaba, Taguaí, Ubatuba.

 

Chile; Atacama Desert, Andes Mountains, Antofagasta.

 

Madagascar; Toliara

 

Mozambique; Inhambane City, Morrumbene, Massinga.

 

Namibia; Walvis Bay, Rehoboth, Kalahari Desert, Namib Desert, Luderitz.

 

Paragua; Concepción.

 

South Africa; Kruger National Park, Polokwane, Capricorn District Municipality, Capricorn Archdeaconry in the Anglican Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist.

 

If you know of any more locations in your own country that lies under the the Tropic of Capricorn - please feel free to facebook us and tell everyone about it.

 

NASA Earth Observatory - EUMETSAT

showing image from Space by NASA Earth Observatory - EUMETSAT - 21 December Solstice 2011

Photograph shows Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice 21 December 2011 as seen from Space  

and Summer Solstice 21 December 20122 for Southern Hemisphere  

 

Earth from Space 21 December Winter/Summer Solstice 2011

                       

                   click image of Earth to enlarge. Or save large format image of Earth from Space to your computer photo file

Winter_Solstice_medium_image_of-Earth_from_Space_NASA_Eclipse_Geeks.810pixels.jpeg

Save large December Solstice Diagram with comprehensive descriptive details about the 2012 December Solstice to your computer.

Save Large Diagram December Solstice 2012  

Finally. Why is the Tropic of Capricorn, named the Tropic of Capricorn? Why isn’t it called something else, like the Tropic of Sagittarius?

 

The Tropic of Capricorn was named approximately 2,000 years ago and was given the Capricorn name because at that time the Sun reached zenith in the direction of the constellation Capricornus. In modern times the Sun now appears in the December solstice in the constellation of Sagittarius.

Double click to insert body text here ...

Earth's Geography - More details on; What is a Solstice?

The solstice is an event that occurs twice each year when the Sun reaches its farthest point north or south of Earth’s Equator. The Solstice marks the beginning of both summer and winter simultaneously, depending on the hemisphere in which you live. The two most northerly and southerly lines of latitude at which the Sun can reach is The Tropic of Cancer 23.5°north and the Tropic of Capricorn 23.5°South.

 

The Tropic of Capricorn, (sometimes called The Southern Tropic) marks the most southerly latitude on Earth at which the Sun can be viewed directly overhead. (Sun at Zenith = directly overhead). The event occurs during December and marks the beginning of summer for the Southern Hemisphere - the Summer Solstice, and the beginning of winter for the Northern Hemisphere - the Winter Solstice.

 

The same applies when the Sun is at its most northerly latitude and is directly over the Tropic of Cancer (sometimes called The Northern Tropic) and the Sun can be viewed directly overhead. The event occurs during June and marks the beginning of summer for the Northern Hemisphere – The Summer Solstice, and the beginning of winter for the Southern Hemisphere – The Winter Solstice.

 

It is extremely important to inform you that the positions of the Tropical Circles, the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, are not fixed but move. It is fair to say that for every day discussion, tests, or informal chatting, the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn can be described as being 23.5°north or 23.5°south. However when finer measurements are introduced, such as degrees, minutes and seconds, there is a notable shift in the movement of the Tropical Zone decreasing in size. The two Tropical Circles are each drifting towards the equator by about 15 metres (meters) per year (49 feet) and the area of the Tropics (Torrid Zone) is decreasing by approximately 1100 square km / 424.71 square miles every year.  .

 

This is due to the changing axil tilt of Earth. The current Axil Tilt (or obliquity) of Earth is 23.4393° but there is a long-term cycle which causes the axial tilt to fluctuate between 22.1° and 24.5° over a period of 41,000 years.  

 

Equally, both the Arctic Circle and Antarctic Circle are decreasing in size, each is currently drifting towards their respective Poles at  a rate of approximately 15metres (meters) or 49 feet per year.

 

The change and decreasing size of the Tropical Zone (Torrid Zone) and the decreasing size of Antarctica (South Frigid Zone) and the Arctic Zone (North Frigid Zone) are slow, but nevertheless it affects and changes Earth’s overall and regional climate.        

 

Permanent daylight Antarctica and Permanent night Arctic

 

The 2012 December Solstice will see Antarctica have its midday noon and the Sun will be at its highest point in the sky of the year over Antarctica. It's the midday Sun at the South Pole because most of Antarctica has been bathed in Sunlight since the Sun rose on 22nd September 2012 at 14 hours 49 minutes UT/GMT. The Sun will not set until 20th March 2013 at 11 hours 02 minutes UT/GMT. A single Antarctica day at the South Pole lasts for six months. Permanent daylight ranges from 1 day to 6 months to all latitudes south of the Antarctic Circle - the nearer the South Pole - the longer the day.

What is a Solstice? The solstice is an event that occurs twice each year when the Sun reaches its farthest point north or south of Earth's Equator and is directly overhead at

latitudes 23.5°north or 23.5°south of the Equator. These two latitudes are named Tropic of Cancer to the north and Tropic of Capricorn to the south.

 

As of epoch 2012 the Tropic of Capricorn is currently at 23.5°south (or to high precision 23° 26′ 16″South)

While the Tropic of Cancer is 23.5°north (or to high precision 23° 26′ 16″ North).

 

All about the 21st December 2012 Solstice - Winter Solstice Northern Hemisphere - Summer Solstice Southern Hemisphere

December Solstice 2012 occurs 21 December at 11 hours 12 minutes UT/GMT

The Sun reaches highest point in the sky in the Southern Hemisphere and rays of the Sun shine directly over the Tropic of Capricorn

 

Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere

The December Solstice 2012 occurs 21 December at 11 hours 12 minutes UT/GMT. It marks the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Shortest daylight hours and longest night for northern hemisphere, with the Sun at its lowest point in the sky of the year. Longest daylight hours and shortest night for southern hemisphere, with the Sun at its highest point over the Tropic of Capricorn and latitudes south of Capricorn.

 

Click December Solstice Diagram for more descriptive details and a much larger image and information about the Solstice 2012  Double click to insert body text here