The Free Press, Mankato, MN


December 2, 2010

December Starline: Mother nature offers celestial presents


       The eclipse ends the day winter begins. The winter solstice falls December 21 at 5:38 p.m.  On the solstice the sun is as low in the sky as it ever gets and the length of daylight is shortest.

       On December 22 the Ursid meteors peaks. The Ursids is an erratic meteor shower associated with comet Tuttle. Ursid meteors radiate from the direction of Polaris, the north star.

       You may have noticed that a leap second is sometimes added to the end of the year to allow the rotating Earth to catch up to more regular atomic time. The Earth’s rotation has not slowed enough recently so no leap second will be added this year. The last leap second was added at the end of 2008.

Send comments and questions to Steve Kipp, at

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