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Sun to set on the winter solstice

It's the time of the year again to mark the winter solstice, an annual event which marks the Sun's southernmost setting point of the year.

This year it is anticipated to take place on Saturday December 21 around 3:27 p.m.

The Okanagan Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (OCRASC) has invited the public again this year to echo the ancient custom of observing the annual winter solstice at the Okanagan's own standing stone structure 'Pen Henge' on Munson Mountain in Penticton.

Preliminary information will be available to the public earlier in the day between 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. during the Farmer's Market at the Shatford Centre, 760 Main Street, Penticton.

If the skies remain clear participants will gather on Munson Mountain to witness the lengthening shadow cast by the sun over the winter solstice stone gradually extend toward the central heel stone.

At approximately 3:27 p.m. the sun will set in perfect alignment with the two stones as befits the day of winter solstice when the sun reaches its most southerly point of the year.

After the event, the OCRASC will invite solstice observers to return with them to the Shatford Centre for hot beverages and treats, and a chance to talk with members about the solstice or other astronomy related topics.

The Pen Henge standing stone array is located at the top of Munson Mountain above the large 'Penticton' sign on the east side of Okanagan Lake.

It consists of four stones that delineate the sunset points on the four cardinal dates of the year. Anchored by the Heel Stone, the Equinox Stone points to the Sun's sunset point at both the Spring and Fall Equinoxes, while the other two stones mark the Winter and Summer Solstice setting points respectively.

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