Winter solstice is here

by Mars

Happy winter solstice everyone. As of tomorrow the days finally start to lengthen. It’s been a dark, wet and dreary December and our solar production has been poor as a result.

In addition to today having the shortest day and longest night, the sun is also at its lowest point in the sky for us in the UK. Casting my mind back to high school geography, since Earth is tilted on its axis, the sun will rise and fall throughout the year depending on which pole is pointing towards (or away from) the sun.

So as of tomorrow, the days will thankfully start to lengthen and the sun will start getting higher in the sky, which is what we want and need for good solar production, because December has been awful from a production perspective.

The word solstice, for your reference, is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) because at this time of year the sun’s declination appears to stand still.

Closing fun fact: today also marks the pre-Christian Feast of Juul. In Scandinavia fires would be lit to celebrate the returning of the sun and a Yule log was burnt as a tribute to Thor. This is where our Christmas traditions like Yule log and singing come from.

The types of wood used as Yule logs vary from country to country. In England, oak is a traditional choice. The Scots go for birch, while the French, being French, sprinkle cherry wood with wine to give off more aromas while it burns.

So let’s burn a Yule log and celebrate improved solar production – tradition fused with modern day technology.

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