Meaning of Solstice (What it is, Concept and Definition)

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solstice is a astronomical event which means the early summer or winter. It's the time of year when the sun shines with greater intensity in one of the two hemispheres.

During the solstice, the Sun (seen from Earth) appears at the furthest point from the celestial equator when making its apparent movement in the sky.

The solstice corresponds to the instant when the Sun reaches its maximum or minimum declination, depending on the hemisphere in question. At the summer solstice the North Pole is tilted 23.5° towards the Sun, while at the Winter Solstice the North Pole is tilted 23.5° away from the Sun.

The solstices are related to esoterism and for many cultures they have a very important symbolism. For example, for some peoples, the summer solstice is a source of great joy, because it represents the victory of Light over Darkness.

the solstice occurs twice a year, in the months of June and December, marking the beginning of the seasons, which are opposite in each hemisphere.

Why does the solstice happen?

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The solstice happens thanks to two phenomena that occur on planet Earth: rotation and translation. The existence of these phenomena causes sunlight to be unevenly distributed between the two hemispheres.

The winter solstice means that sunlight does not fall as strongly on the hemisphere in question, while the summer solstice increases the incidence of sunlight. They are opposite phenomena depending on the hemisphere in which a particular country finds itself. For example: when it is winter in Brazil (Southern Hemisphere), it is Summer in France (Northern Hemisphere).

The days and hours at which the solstices occur are not the same every year because of the speed reached by the Earth in elliptical orbit. Travel is faster when the Earth is closer to the Sun (perihelion) than when it is further away (aphelion).

Summer Solstice

The summer solstice determines that the length of the day will be the longest in the year and the night will be the shortest.

In the Southern Hemisphere (where Brazil is located), the summer solstice takes place on December 21st or 22nd. Conversely, in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice takes place between the 21st and 22nd of June.

Learn more about Summer Solstice.

Winter Solstice

The winter solstice indicates that the length of the night will be the longest of the year and, consequently, the day will be the shortest.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice takes place between the 21st and 22nd of June. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs between December 21st and 22nd.

To learn more, read about Winter Solstice.

Equinox

The equinox also marks the beginning of two seasons of the year: spring and autumn. As with the solstices, the phenomenon occurs at opposite times in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.

In the Southern Hemisphere the Spring Equinox takes place between September 22nd and 23rd and the Autumn Equinox takes place between March 20th and 21st.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Spring Equinox takes place on March 20th or 21st and the Autumn Equinox takes place between September 21st and 23rd.

Learn about the meanings of Equinox, Spring Equinox and Autumn Equinox.

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