Winter Solstice

Lux chart

December 21st marks the northern hemisphere’s astronomical beginning of winter, both the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In Edinburgh, Scotland, that means only 6 hours 56 minutes of daylight and a long 17 hours 4 minutes of night. Even with good weather — and we were lucky get several hours of blue sky and sun this time — the angle of the sun is so low to the horizon that its rays are relatively weak. I measured approximately 40,000 lx of direct sunlight near midday. As you can see from the lux chart above that is still a good level of light versus staying indoors, so do get out for some fresh air and a walk if you can!

The good news is that each successive day will begin growing ever longer and brighter as our planet continues its arc around our star, tilting northern hemisphere dwellers back towards the sun, giving us all a better chance at catching some of that extra day light. Happy winter solstice!

Autumn Equinox

Here in Scotland the days have been growing noticeably shorter as Autumn approaches. Today, September 22nd, at about quarter to 9pm, the Earth will reach that special place in its orbit where the Sun passes over the equator. With Scotland’s latitude is between 54ºN and 60ºN, the diagram below shows that from this point on until March 20th 2014, our day light hours will be shorter than our nights. For those of us sensitive to the ever shortening amount of light it is important to make the most of the available sun and resist an ancient urge to hibernate. The Autumn Equinox is here!

Daylight hours vs. latitude vs. time of year