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Solstice, will this year also fall on June 21st? The solstice is, in astronomy, the time when the sun reaches, in its apparent motion along the ecliptic, the maximum or minimum declination point.This means that the summer and winter solstices represent the longest and shorter day of the year, respectively.The phenomenon is due to the inclination of the Earth‘s rotation axis with respect to the ecliptic; The declination value reached coincides with the angle of inclination of the earth and varies over a period of 41,000 years between 22 ° 6 ‘and 24 ° 30’.
Currently, the angle is 23 ° 27 ‘and is decreasing. Over the course of a year, the solstice occurs twice: the Sun reaches the maximum positive declining value in June (marking the beginning of northern summer and southern winter) and negative in December (marking the beginning of Boreal winter and southern summer).
The solstice retires each year about 6 hours from the previous year (more precisely 5h 48min 46s) and re-aligns forcibly every four years at the leap year, introduced precisely to avoid the progressive divergence of seasons with the Calendar.
Due to such variations, the solstices may occur on June 20 or 21 or 21 or 22 December. The winter solstice was the occasion for festivities of various kinds: the Sol Invictus for the pagans; The Saturnalia in ancient Rome (from 17 to 23); Christmas for Christianity; Yule in paganism.
In Great Britain, in Stonehenge, survive the imposing ruins of a druidic [no source] temple: two concentric circles of monoliths reaching 50 tons.
The axis of the monument is astronomically oriented, with an avenue of access to the center of which stands a sandstone called Heel Stone, also known as Fryar’s Heel. In the summer solstice, the Sun rises above Heel Stone. In short, Stonehenge would not only be a temple but also a calendar. For the Inca, whose maximum bloom is around the 15th century, the Inti divinity is the sun, sovereign of the earth, son of Viracocha, the creator, and father of his human personification, the emperor.
Around Cuzco, the capital of the empire, the Mojones arise, towers used as “good” to establish the days of equinoxes and solstices. At Machu Picchu, a sacred place of the Inca, you can still see Torreon, a semicircular stone engraved for astronomical observations, and the “Intihuatana”, a solar clock made in the rock.
For the Mayans, the sun is the supreme ruler of human activities, based on a calendar in which religious beliefs and astronomical observations are transposed for that very time. Among the Indians of America, the sun is a symbol of divine power and providence. The Aztecs are assimilated to a young warrior who dies every night and rises every morning, defeating the moon and the stars: to feed the Aztec people offered to sacrifice human victims.
Similar legends, though fortunately less fierce, are still among our contemporary primitive populations. The same Inuit (Eskimos) believed until recently that the sun rolled over the horizon to the north overnight and spread the pale light of the Boreal Aurora here: naive conviction, but not entirely wrong, since it is It has been studied as the polar aurora are precisely caused by swarms of nuclear particles projected into the very high energy space by the solar activity regions.
All the cult of the ancient Egyptians is dominated by the sun, called Horus or Kheper in the morning when it stands, Ra when it is in the midst of the noon and Atum when it is set.
Heliopolis, the City of the Sun, was the sacred place of the day, the temple of Abu Simbel, built by Ramses II in the 13th century BC. Before Christ was dedicated to the worship of the Sun.
According to Egyptian cosmology, the Nile was the southern section of a great river that surrounded the Earth and which, northward, flowed into the valley of Dait, which depicted the night; On it was a boat carrying the Sun (depicted as a fire disk and played in the figure of god Ra) that was born every morning, had its peak at noon and at sunset he traveled to another boat to the east. One needs the Egyptians some of the first accurate solar astronomical observations, according to which Pharaoh priests provided the Nile full and programmed agricultural work. The pyramids are arranged according to astronomical, star and solar orientations. The obelisks were essentially gnomons, which with their shadow marked the hours and seasons. The solar clocks were well-known and there were several types, some of them portable, T or L, called merket: Pharaoh Thutmosis III, lived from 1501 to 1448 BC, always traveled with his small sundial as we With our wristwatch. The first appearance of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, at dawn in the summer, was for the Egyptians the fundamental point of reference for the calendar.
Their year was 365 days old, but they already knew that it actually lasted over six hours, so they calculated that during the 1460 year the Nile Flood Date was a complete rotation of the calendar.
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