Solstice brings more daylight to Juneau

Posted: Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday marked the first day of winter, but for many Juneau residents that's irrelevant.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

What matters is that passing the Winter Solstice means every day is getting a bit brighter.

In Juneau, the amount is only three seconds of additional light today compared to Monday. But for some residents, the switch is something to be celebrated.

The solstice is the day in which the Earth appears to stand still and then shifts direction in its elliptical orbit of the sun. The sun moves north and to the east, rising higher in the sky each day.

Monday - the shortest day of the year - brought Juneau residents 6 hours and 21 minutes of daylight, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Edward Liske.

Liske said that by the end of the month, Juneau will get roughly 10 more minutes of daylight than it did Monday.

Joyce Levine celebrates the returning of light with more light - a bonfire, that is. She and friends gather on the beach, sit around a fire and watch it, she said.

Levine notes that many religious holidays reside near the Solstice, and she doesn't think that's a coincidence. But as a Jew who celebrates Hanukkah in Juneau with her mother, one reason she likes the Solstice is that, for her, it's not religious.

"It's not based on Judaism, not Christianity, Hindu or Muslim. It's based on the world as we turn," she said. "I think often we have so many wars because of religion. If people would just pay more attention to what the Earth is doing, it would be a much nicer place to live."

Sunrise is at 8:46 a.m. today, the same as yesterday. But sunset officially occurs one minute later at 3:08 p.m.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter Kim Marquis at 523-2279.

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