UMass marks the winter solstice with special events

December 17, 2017

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — The public is invited to mark the shortest day of the year during special winter solstice events at the UMass-Amherst Sunwheel.

The celebration Thursday marks the astronomical change of seasons when nights are longest and days are shortest in the Northern Hemisphere, and the sun rises and sets at its most southerly spot along the horizon.

The hour-long gatherings are scheduled for 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

UMass astronomer Stephen Schneider will discuss the astronomical cause of the solstice and explain the seasonal positions of the Earth, the sun and moon.

If it is clear for an evening session, telescopes will be set up to observe the crescent moon and to safely observe the surface of the sun.

The Sunwheel is located south of the football stadium.

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