Griffith Observatory's Free Winter Solstice Talks Shine Online

The annual happening will cast its light virtually, with cool information about the coldest seasonal hand-off.

Kristina Strasunske

What to Know

  • Tuesday, Dec. 21
  • 11 a.m. to noon and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the Griffith Observatory site
  • The sun is the informative focus of this online presentation, which will happen at local noon and again at sunset

The autumn can inspire the poet inside each of us to emerge, look around, and begin making the most ethereal, florid, and painterly of observations.

And one thing said quite often during the fall?

How much the quality of sunlight seems to have changed, seemingly overnight. The sun's beautiful beams just feel softer, more diffuse, and like they are washing over us from a wholly new angle or direction.

Indeed, the sun is in a different location in the sky as the nights grow longer, and it reaches its lowest spot on the winter solstice, another occasion that can encourage our latent poets to start reflecting on the nature of time, weather, the passing of the seasons, and the meaning of the universe.

But we aspiring poets, before we begin to rhapsodize about the winter solstice's beautiful qualities, should endeavor to pick up a few facts about what makes the winter solstice so solstice-y, what's up with our nearest star (or rather our planetary relationship to it), and all types of astronomical tidbits and trivia.

The sky-watching team at Griffith Observatory is in touch with these timeless topics, and, for several years now, they've provided an in-person explainer about the winter solstice, giving visitors to the Griffith Park landmark some amazing insights into what is happening.

Those in-person events halted in 2020, at least temporarily, but Griffith Observatory will offer two virtual winter solstice talks on Tuesday, Dec. 21.

The first is at local noon, the second is centered around sunset, and the "... staff will discuss the meaning of local noon and show how the Sun's changing path across the sky causes seasonal changes."

As for when winter officially begins?

It will start its own seasonal journey a bit earlier in the day, at 7:59 a.m. PDT (and, yep, that's for the northern hemisphere).

For more on Griffith Observatory's complimentary and cosmic gift to the community, the sharing of knowledge about an event we can all brush up on, poets, wannabe poets, and people who sometimes feel poetical alike, click.

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