Sunday, December 22, 2019

2019 December Solstice

The December Solstice arrived in New Zealand at 5:19pm NZDT today. That means that today was the longest day of the year—and they’re now getting shorter. It seems like we only just started having them get longer, but June does feel like a lifetime ago. Today was a nice day—one of two in a row, actually, with lots of sunshine and some blue sky (though a bit windy).

In this part of the world, we always say Summer begins on December first, so the December Solstice three weeks later doesn’t really have any particular meaning. Add to that the fact that because equinoxes and solstices are astronomical events, the date and time of their arrival changes each time. That’s a good reason to ignore them and just use the first of the month in which it occurs.

We’re now done with astronomical events for this year. I often talk talk about all of them, but not this year: I only published this post and one about the June Solstice. That was because the March Equinox was at the time of the Christchurch terrorist attack, and the September Equinox—well, there are obvious reasons I wasn’t paying any attention to that.

Here’s the list of when the solstices and equinoxes arrive in New Zealand next year, provided by TimeAndDate.com:

March Equinox: 4:49pm NZDT on March 20, 2019.
June Solstice: 9:43am NZST on June 21, 2019
September Equinox: 1:30am NZST on September 23, 2019
December Solstice: 11:02pm NZDT on December 21, 2019


In New Zealand, Daylight saving starts each year at 2am on the last Sunday in September, and ends at 3am on the first Sunday in April, so our current NZ Daylight Time (NZDT) ends at 3am on Sunday, April 5, 2020, and we resume NZ Standard Time (NZST). Then, at 2am on Sunday, September 27, 2020, NZDT returns again. In both cases, the dates and times are fairly easy to work out, unlike solstices and equinoxes.

I created the graphic above for a post in 2012. I used an image in the public domain and claim no ownership over that image, however, the composition is licensed under my usual Creative Commons license.

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