Today is the Winter Solstice, that day when our cave-dwelling ancestors of long ago suddenly realized that they had only four more shopping days until Christmas. We’ll have 9 hours and 47 minutes of daylight here today, only one minute less than we’ve had for the last several days and only one minute less than we’ll have for several more. “Solstice” actually means “standing still” which is what the sun appears to do for several days on either side of the Solstice. Only the most careful of observers will detect anything different for several more days, a tribute to those most careful observers of long, long ago, who did.
The NPS photo of the winter sky at Chaco Canyon, NM was taken by Dr. Tyler Nordgren That’s Orion low on the horizon, to the right of Fajada Butte. A sun dagger on the butte, placed there a thousand years ago, will mark the exact moment of the Solstice today, at 10:47A.M., MST.