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Rain & Shine: Winter Solstice and a Grand Conjunction

Kori Stanton

Happy Winter Solstice on Dec 21st, 2020! As we snuggle down into the deepest nights of the year KVNF’s Calla Rose Ostrander explores the ways in which human society is already oriented around the workings of the Earth, the heavens and how the planet and its many forms of life and relationships interweave with and shape our own. 

The Solstice is one way we recognize our planet’s relationship with the Sun. And this Solstice is an extra special one when it comes to other planetary alignments!

Over the course of that year, we experience seasons because the Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted relative to our orbit around the Sun. From March- September the northern hemisphere is tilted more toward the sun ,the days are longer and the extra light and warmth- bring spring and summer! From Sept- March the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun bringing the longer and ever cooling nights of fall and winter. The two turning points in between these times when the days and nights are of equal length are called Equinoxes. The Solistics are the days when the light and the dark are longest, when our place on the earth is titled all the way towards or all the way away from the Sun.

This solstice, another form of planetary alignment is also occurring. December 21st will not only be the shortest day of the year, it is also the day when two orbits of the largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn’s  line up. This “grand conjunction” happens once every twenty years, but this one is extra special since these two planets haven't been this close to Earth since 1623 and even then they were not visible like this since 1226!


Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere

The Grand Conjunction NASA

Star of Bethlehem? 


Calla Rose was born in Tucson AZ and grew up in the Rocky Mountain West. She attended Shining Mountain Waldorf school in Boulder Colorado K-12 and graduated with a degree in International Political Economy on a classical cello scholarship, from the University of Puget Sound. After spending some time in California she is happily back in Colorado and living in Paonia.