Winter Solstice on Oregon Coast - and in Space
(Oregon Coast) – From the central Oregon coast to inland Oregon, to the regions of space around the Earth, this week's winter solstice will mean a variety of things, including celebrations and maybe something different to look at in the skies (above: a winter sunset at Cannon Beach - this could be a bit longer on the winter solstice).
In Yachats, it's the Winter Solstice Night Bonfire on December 21, sponsored by the Yachats Academy of Arts & Sciences. It will be held in the pavilion behind the Yachats Commons, with refreshments provided by the Yachats Lion's Club - and some musical entertainment will likely be a part of the festivities. It begins at 4 p.m. There is no fee, but donations will be accepted. W 4th St & Hwy 101, Yachats, Oregon. (541) 547-4713.
Above: Yachats at night.
The Driftwood Public Library in Lincoln City holds its Annual Solstice Celebration on Thursday, December 22, in the Distad Reading Room at the library. It starts at 7 p.m. There will be music, including performances by amateur and professional musicians from the area, and readings that will reflect on various aspects of winter and solstice and what these mean to different interpreters. Cookies, coffee and tea will be provided at the intermission.
Driftwood Public Library is located on the second floor of the Lincoln City Civic Center at 801 SW Highway 101 in Lincoln City. The reading room is on the North end of the library. 541 996-1242. www.driftwoodlib.org.
For those in the Pacific Time Zone, winter officially begins Wednesday, December 21 at 9:30 p.m. According to Jim Todd of Portland’s OMSI, this is the day that the Earth's northern pole is tipped away from the sun, and some other interesting sights may be available in the skies to those in Oregon, in Portland and along the coast between now and Wednesday.
Above: long winter shadows in Seaside
“As seen from Portland, the sun will reach its lowest southern point in the sky at 21 and a half degrees on the horizon,” Todd said. “Because of the low angle of the sun's arc, it will produce the longest and most spectacular sunrises and sunsets of the year. On December 18-21, we will have nearly 8.5 hours of daylight to enjoy.”
That may not seem like much light to many, but Oregonians have it lucky compared to some north of here. Todd said the region above the Arctic Circle will be in total darkness for 24 hours.
The winter solstice, although the shortest day of the year, also means a light at the end of the winter tunnel – if you'll excuse the pun.
“For those of you who dislike the dark winter days, look at the bright side: after December 21, the days will gradually grow longer and the night shorter as Earth completes its yearly journey around the sun,” Todd said.
Sunset near Yachats, at Cook's Chasm
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