“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” -Albert Camus
This Sunday marks the Winter Solstice: the darkest, longest evening of the year for all the Earth's northern hemisphere denizens.
Sure, you probably know all about Earth's axial tilt and how the southern hemisphere experiences the summer solstice at the same time, but here are a few solstice facts that you might not know, including what it means for the Moon, for new year's celebrations, and for our history of venturing beyond Earth.
I found the diagram of the different positions of the Solstice fascinating. As far as I could understand your explanation this is due to the fact that the orbit precesses. Is this independent from the so called "wobbling of the Earth's axis? Does the orbit also undergo changes in ellipticity significant enough to affect the position of the Solstice/ Equinox? Thanks in advance for your enlightment!
You are not wrong about the Southern Hemisphere. We are just starting Summer and the temperature reached 40.5 near us just north of Perth, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Centigrade that is. Looking forward to a long hot summer.
re #1, yes, the effects can be seen if you check up "Milankovich cycles" on Wikipedia, where the various orbital effects have a direct utility.
No, the wobble is not the cause. It is simply the angle of the earth (around 23 degrees tilt) that, in the winter causes the Northern Hemisphere to lean away from the sun and the Southern hemisphere to lean towards the sun. The wobble occurs over thousands of years and slightly increases or decreases the 'lean'.
Here is a link to my above comment, with diagrams.