The 23.5 degree inclination of the Earth’s axis of rotation creates the appearance of the rising and falling of the sun over a period of one year. During the winter solstice, the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, bringing low light and cooler temperatures.
The slope of the earth – not our distance from the sun – causes winter and summer. In fact, the earth is closer to the sun in winter than it is in summer.
Sankranti is not the only major astronomical event that took place on Monday.
During the “big merger” on Monday, Jupiter and Saturn will form a “twin planet” that appears except for a tenth of a degree – or about the thickness of a silver coin at arm’s length.
This event is called the “Christmas Star”, referring to the celestial light that guided the three sages to Jesus in the Christian Bible’s Nativity story.
Skywatchers can distinguish Saturn and Jupiter from the stars because the planets appear “bright and solid in the sky.”
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