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This weekend’s celestial show: Winter solstice, cold moon and meteor shower

Rejoice, Buckhannon, for today is the winter solstice.

For six months – dating back to those glorious days in June – the amount of sunlight beaming down on Buckhannon has been shrinking, until reaching peak darkness today, Dec. 21, the shortest day of 2018.

For many West Virginians, the solstice is a symbol of brighter days ahead. A long winter is still to come, but as the days grow – minute by minute – they offer a ray of hope and a reminder that spring will come.

This year the winter solstice is extra special.

A full moon known as the ‘cold moon’ is set to rise Saturday night, and we should even get to see it here in Upshur County if the rains fade and the clouds part as predicted. The few inches of snow expected to fall tonight could make the cold moon extra bright – those with good eyes could even read outside with only natural light.

That beautiful moon, however, will obscure this weekend’s other celestial event – the Ursids meteor shower.

The Ursids will reach their peak on Saturday, but dwindling numbers of shooting stars will dot the skies through Christmas.

Together, the three events should mark a spectacular heavenly start to the holidays.

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