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  • Christmas 2014

    Posted by David Foster on December 24th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Newgrange is an ancient structure in Ireland so constructed that the sun, at the exact time of the winter solstice, shines directly down a long corridor and illuminates the inner chamber. More about Newgrange here and here.

    Grim has an Arthurian passage about the Solstice.

    Don Sensing has thoughts astronomical, historical, and theological about the Star of Bethlehem.

    A wonderful 3-D representation of the Iglesia San Luis De Los Franceses. Just click on the link–then you can look around inside the cathedral. Use arrow keys or mouse to move left/right, up/down, and shift to zoom in, ctrl to zoom out.

    Vienna Boys Choir, from Maggie’s Farm

    Lappland in pictures…link came from the great and much-mourned Neptunus Lex

    Snowflakes and snow crystals, from Cal Tech. Lots of great photos

    A Romanian Christmas carol, from The Assistant Village Idiot

    In the bleak midwinter, from The Anchoress

    Rick Darby has some thoughts on the season. More here.

    A Christmas reading from Thomas Pynchon.

    The first radio broadcast of voice and music took place on Christmas Eve, 1906. (although there is debate about the historical veracity of this story)

    An air traffic control version of The Night Before Christmas.

    Ice sculptures from the St Paul winter carnival

    O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, sung by Enya

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Jeff Sypeck on a winter garden

     

    6 Responses to “Christmas 2014”

    1. dearieme Says:

      “so constructed that the sun, at the exact time of the winter solstice, shines directly down….” There are several ancient structures in NW Europe that seem to be aligned with the sun at the winter solstice. I infer that NW Europe may have been less cloudy in winter than it is now. I am puzzled that I have never seen an archaeologist make this suggestion.

    2. Mike K Says:

      Isn’t that also true of Stonehenge also ?

      It’s best known for summer solstice but winter solstice also has a role.

      If you stood inside the Stonehenge monument on the day of the northern summer solstice, facing north-east through the entrance towards a rough hewn stone outside the circle – known as the Heel Stone – you would see the sun rise above the Heel Stone,

      But Stonehenge is tied to the winter solstice, too. At Stonehenge in England on the day of the northern winter solstice (always around December 20), people watch as the sun sets in the midst of three great stones – known as the Trilithon – consisting of two large vertical stones supporting a third, horizontal stone across the top.

      In the case of Stonehenge, this great Trilithon faces outwards from the center of the monument, with its smooth flat face turned toward the midwinter sun. In fact, the primary axes of Stonehenge seems to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunset.

      The Egyptians were also sun worshippers.

    3. Veryretired Says:

      Merry Christmas to all the Boyz and friends, and have a happy, peaceful new year.

    4. David Foster Says:

      A good post from Sarah Hoyt: The Light and the Darkness

    5. Jeff Says:

      Thanks for including me again in your annual Christmas roundup, David. Here’s to a prosperous 2015.

    6. Grurray Says:

      Sonofagun, now I’m going to have to re-read Gravity’s Rainbow again.