The Solstitial Points

The solstitial points refer to the movement of the sun, north of the equator in summer and south of it in winter. They are the points marking the extreme northern and southern limits of this movement of the sun. The summer solstice, when the sun comes farthest north, is at present in Cancer, and the winter solstice, or his extreme southern limit, is in Capricor-nus. The distance of the sun north and south of the equator is called his northern or southern declination. When the sun reaches either solstitial point, he begins to turn back toward the other—at first very slowly, and for a short period seems to stand still. It is for this reason that these points are called "solstitial," from the latin words sol, the sun, and sistere-stiti, to cause to stand. When, in June, the sun enters Cancer, and reaches his greatest northern declination, his rays, falling more vertically, cause the change from winter and spring to summer in all countries north of the equator. This shifting of the sun from one solstitial point to the other is the cause of the change of the seasons.

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