Since June 20, the altitude of the midday sun has been lowering as its direct rays have been gradually migrating to the south.
The sun's altitude above the horizon at noontime is 47 degrees lower now, compared to six months ago. Your clenched fist held at arm's length measures roughly 10 degrees, so the sun at midday is now nearly "five fists" lower in the southern sky compared to on June 21.
The ancient skywatchers had no understanding of the sun's migration; they thought this celestial machinery might break down someday, and the sun would continue southward, never to return. As such, the lowering of the sun was cause for fear and wonder.
As "armistice" is defined as a staying of the action of arms, "solstice" is a staying of the sun's apparent motion over the latitudes of the Earth. At the summer solstice, the sun stops its northward motion and begins heading south.
At the winter solstice, it turns north. Technically, at one minute past the moment of the solstice, the sun has turned around and started north. It will cross the equator at the vernal equinox, passing into the Northern Hemisphere on March 20, at 7:02 a.m. EDT.
read more: http://www.space.com/19006-winter-solsti...ained.html