Either of two times of the year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator. The summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurs about June 21, when the sun is in the zenith at the tropic of Cancer; the winter solstice occurs about December 21, when the sun is over the tropic of Capricorn. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and the winter solstice is the shortest.

Etymology: c.1250, from Old French solstice, from Latin solstitium "point at which the sun seems to stand still," from sol "sun" + sistere "to come to a stop, make stand still" (the sun seems to stay still for a few days before getting closer to the Equator)

This photo was taken yesterday morning on Hollingbury hillfort, during what should have been a glorious winter solstice sunrise over Brighton and the sea. Only we got the date wrong, as this year, the solstice is today, 22 December, and it was so foggy that we actually didn’t see the sun at all. This combined with the freezing temperatures meant that it was just an everyday, very cold and misty dawn. I am typing this with my nose as I yet have to regain feeling in my fingers.
I’m off to South-West France via Paris and dinner in the Eiffel Tower (dinner! the Eiffel Tower! Two of my favourite things at the same time!). Have an excellent end of year!

By | 2007-12-22T09:14:14+00:00 December 22nd, 2007|Words|4 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Kimberley December 22, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Cool picture though. Best wishes for 2008. 🙂

  2. Fabio Said December 22, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Céline, have a nice dinner and enjoy the Eiffel Tower once more! As to freezing temperatures, I am freezing, too. But I guess, since I am Germany, it couldn’t be any different this time of the year, could it? 🙁

  3. LInda Herbertson December 22, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Céline! Don’t tell me you’ll be in Toulouse while I’ll be in Scotland! Ships that pass in the night. Enjoy the Eiffel Tower

  4. céline January 2, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Je n’étais pas à Toulouse mais dans le sud des Landes. Dinner AT the Eiffel Tower was great, we started the week as we meant to carry on. I put on 3 kilos over the holiday. Happy 2008 everyone!

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