"The Surest Sign of Winter, and; Why the Shortest Day of the Year doesn't Feel Like the Shortest Day of the Year"

Scheduled air date: 2000 Nov 27-Dec 03

The familiar winter constellation Orion—the Hunter—can be seen rising in the evening sky this time of year, marking the approach of Winter to the Northern Hemisphere.
(Shown mid-December at 8:00pm for mid-Northern latitudes.)

Winter Solstice—the beginning of Winter—occurs in about three weeks (December 21st) for the Northern Hemisphere.
At this time, the Sun's path across the sky is at its lowest, or closest to the southern horizon, while the Moon's path is at its highest.
(Positions shown at one hour intervals for mid-Northern latitudes.)

For comparison, the above shows the paths of the Sun and Moon across the sky at Summer Solstice—the beginning of Summer (June 21st).  Note that, relative to Winter Solstice, the Sun and Moon appear to have switched places.

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

Copyright 1999-2006 by Software Bisque, Inc.