Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

Gardeners, probably more than most folks, are concerned about the weather. And, because of the particular weather challenges, Yukon gardeners pay a lot of attention to forecasts, frost warnings, and hours of daylight. Speaking of the latter, today we celebrate the Winter Solstice!

This is our shortest day of the year. In Whitehorse today the sun will rise at 10:09 am and will set at 3:47 pm. That’s a pretty short day.

Which might make you wonder why it’s a reason to celebrate, when it will be dark from about 4:30 pm to 9:00 tomorrow morning. For those of us whose glass is always half full, it means we are now on the downhill slide. Starting tomorrow we start gaining more and more hours of daylight, at a rate of about 5 minutes per day. This might not seem like a lot, but it’s more than an hour increase every two weeks. Which means by the time February rolls around, the sun has a say in the matter. And by the time we get to June, you’ll be able to read a newspaper outside at midnight. Okay, not in actual sunlight, but it will still be light enough to do that.

In the meantime, we enjoy our winter weather. And here’s a unique bonus that Northerners can enjoy – the parhelion effect when the sun is low and ice crystals in the air produce what we call ‘sun dogs’. (See: for more information on sun dogs)

This photo was taken on a wooded trail just behind our neighbourhood.

Happy Winter Solstice!!


  1. Lovely post on the solstice. While not quite as northerly as you, we certainly welcome the shift back towards the light.

    BTW: Great to see someone else is familiar with sundogs!! :-)

  2. Hello there, hardy soul that gardens in the Yukon! Great sun dog picture. I am celebrating the promise of more daylight here in Alaska, too.


  3. Hi Hank, and thanks for visiting earlier! I guess I shouldn't complain about our short day, when yours was about half the length! As you say, the days are now getting longer. We'll make it through, won't we?

  4. Your sun dog picture is great - I really enjoy seeing your snowy scenery. Thanks!

  5. What a great shot of that sun dog - and I just learned a new word. I've enjoyed looking at your snow while everyone here is yearning for some in time for Christmas. Barbara

  6. Lovely sun dog photo. Do you get many northern lights in your area? It's so nice to have turned the corner, enjoy the lengthening daylight hours. :)

  7. Thanks for all your comments. Rebecca, yes we do, indeed, get great views of the Northern Lights here. Check out this link: