Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday: Winter's True Mid-Point

Winter's Halftime Kicks Off on Super Bowl Sunday

Date: 03 February 2013 Time: 01:03 AM ET
Orion Seen Over Colorado
Astrophotographer Daniel McVey sent in this photo of Orion taken in Colorado, Dec. 11, 2012. He writes: "Snow covered trees and Orion high in the sky are sure signs that winter has arrived in Summit County, Colorado." This scene is actually composed of two photographs stitched together in Photoshop.
CREDIT: Daniel McVey/
As many weather-minded people may know, Groundhog Day occurred Saturday (Feb. 2), when winter's fate is decided by a groundhog's perception of its shadow. But in actuality, winter's midpoint in the Northern Hemisphere occurs today: Super Bowl Sunday.

According to folklore, if it is cloudy when the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil emerged from its burrow on Saturday, it would leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly "see its shadow" and retreat back into its burrow, and winter will continue for six more weeks. But Phil did not see his shadow early Saturday, suggesting an early spring is right around the corner.

Saturday was also Candlemas, once regarded as the first of the four "cross-quarter" days of the year or the middle of the winter season, halfway between the December solstice and the March equinox. 

The true midpoint of winter, however, will occur today at 6:07 p.m. EST (2307 GMT), just 23 minutes before kickoff of Super Bowl XLVII. Although the altitude of the Sun has been slowly climbing and the length of daylight has been increasing since the winter solstice on Dec. 21, any changes up to this point have been relatively subtle.

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Source: .

Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil Sees Shadow - Early Spring?:
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More about Groundhog Day:
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