For everyone living up in the Northern Hemisphere, shorter and shorter days are a visible cue that the holidays are approaching every winter. The sun seems to rise later, stay lower in the sky, and set earlier. It’s not just your imagination. The days really do get shorter until we reach the shortest day of the year every December. That short, often cold, day has the least amount of sun out of the entire year and is known as the winter solstice.
A solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year as the earth travels around the sun. One trip around the sun is a year, and in that year, two solstices occur: the summer solstice and the winter solstice. On the summer solstice – the longest day of the year – the sun is at its strongest. In contrast, the winter solstice has the least amount of sun and is the shortest day of the year. (Fun fact: There is so little sun and the sun stays so low in the sky that your longest noontime shadow of the year occurs on the winter solstice.)
The winter solstice occurs in late December, and will happen December 21 at 5:03 p.m. CST in 2014. (The summer solstice occurs in late June in the Northern Hemisphere if you were wondering.) In the Southern Hemisphere, the solstices are reversed (our winter solstice is their summer solstice and vice versa).
Each solstice is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis (the Earth does not travel around the sun upright — it tilts 23.5 degrees, if you were paying attention in science class) and its motion in orbit around the sun.
As Deborah Byrd describes it on EarthSky.com, “because Earth doesn’t orbit upright but is instead tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly. The tilt of the Earth — not our distance from the sun — is what causes winter and summer. At the December solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is leaning most away from the sun for the year.”
“For all of Earth’s creatures, nothing is so fundamental as the length of daylight,” she adds. “After all, the sun is the ultimate source of all light and warmth on Earth.”
Without the heat of the sun, the winter solstice is a quick, cold day. So here at WarmlyYours Radiant Heating, we like to see the winter solstice as a reminder to appreciate the sun — and celebrate the warmth it brings to our world and our homes. It’s also a chance to appreciate the power of radiant heat, which you experience every time you step outside and feel the rays of the sun warm up your skin.
Although your skin absorbs the sun and is warmed, the air temperature around you does not change. That energy from the sun that is absorbed by your skin is called radiant energy or radiant heat.
At WarmlyYours, we’re passionate about radiant heat, and we work to provide it in many forms for your home, including floor-heating systems, radiant panels and snow-melting systems, as well as comfort products including towel warmers, mirror defoggers and countertop heaters. Our goal is for you to be warm and comfortable in your home every day of the year — even on the winter solstice!
“The sun’s rays are the ultimate source of almost every motion which takes place on the surface of the earth,” described John Herschel, a 19th-century astronomer. That’s a lot to celebrate.
For more than 15 years, WarmlyYours has offered the industry’s most innovative solutions in radiant heating technology, which mimics the heat of the sun, and every time the winter solstice rolls around, it is another yearly reminder to celebrate radiant heat’s warmth and comfort.
To add radiant heat to your home today, call 1-800-875-5285
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.