Celestial events observed centuries ago still signify the change of seasons. December 21, 2023 marks the winter solstice north of the equator and summer solstice south of it. This signals the official beginning of a new season. The important global moment arrives at 9:27 p.m. CST, as the sun shines above the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere. This year, astrologists say we’ll see a very bright Jupiter high in the south-eastern night sky which will be visible immediately after sunset.
We live on a planet with a tilted axis— was probably caused by an impact billions of years ago. And it’s this axial tilt that causes the sun to rise and set at different points on the horizon throughout the year, ushers in the four seasons and causes temperature variations.
In our northern hemisphere today, it’s the shortest day and the longest night of the year. And in the south, it’s the longest day and the shortest night of the year. After today, days become longer in the northern hemisphere until they reach 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the March equinox (equal night). At the equinox, the Earth’s axis is side-on to the sun. Our 2024 Spring Equinox occurs March 19.
On June 20, 2024, summer solstice will see the situation is reversed. The sun sitting above the Tropic of Cancer, 23.5 degrees north of the equator. It creates summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere.
Fall equinox follows, occurring September 22, 2024. And the cycle begins all over again with winter solstice on December 21, 2024.
This Year We’ll Witness Another Significant Celestial Event
While there will be more total solar eclipses around the world in coming years, April 8, 2024 will be the last chance to see one in the contiguous United States until August 23, 2044. The last one was August 21, 2017.
Texas will be one of the best places to observe the total solar eclipse in North America on April 8. Over a million visitors are expected to visit Texas to observe it. Venus will appear to the Sun’s right or bottom-right, with dimmer Jupiter at the Sun’s left or upper-left. Just prior to “totality,” the moment of total darkness, the last rays of sunlight will slip through lunar valleys on the moon, creating a string of pearly dots known as Baily’s Beads.