Let's do some astronomy on Dec 21 2012

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For those of you who have been receiving notifications about Dec 21 2012 (the apocalypse hoax), here’s something to help bring astronomy back into the discussion.

We can mark Dec 21 2012 as the time of Winter Solstice. In the northern hemisphere, the Winter solstice is day of the year  when the Sun is farthest south. However, in the southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstice are exchanged so that the winter solstice is the day on which the Sun is farthest north. The winter solstice marks the first day of the season of winter . … This is the date of maximum tilt of the earth’s equator with respect to the Sun… (courtesy http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/WinterSolstice.html)

Read these 2 articles for help on How to Talk About 2012:

Dr Phil Plait’s Article on Notpocalypse

There’ s also a very good article for  teachers  and high school students by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

 The Universe in the Classroom: Winter 2012

Happy Winter Solstice : It happens at 11:12 Universal time, and 6:12 Local Time. [ A kind reader pointed out that I added, rather than subtracted our time zone, currently 5 hrs subtracted from U.T. So it  happened early morning of Dec 21, 2012 – oh well – ‘not the end of the world’ as they say <grin>]