A Solstice Spectacular: Traces of the Sun

Today is the northern winter solstice.  Although it’s often called the longest night and the shortest day, the truth is that the day/night length fluctuates a bit depending on latitude and local geography — so what the solstice really means is that the Sun has reached its southernmost point against the background of stars.  The best depiction of this is the analemma, a figure-eight pattern plotting the position of the Sun at the same time every day for a year (ignoring any daylight savings stuff).

György Bajmóczy of Hungary has produced one of the most amazing analemma videos I’ve ever seen, and it does a truly superb job of demonstrating this principle by showing not just the analemma but also all of the traces of the Sun across the sky on every day for 365 days — and then shows the analemma, and then shows the analemma trace across the sky.  It’s pretty amazing.  Also, the music is lovely.

Happy Solstice!

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