In 2012, the winter solstice arrived in the Southern Hemisphere on June 20 at approximately 23:08 UTC. In Antarctica, the solstice or Midwinter's Day is a turning point when the thoughts of the wintering population turn to coming sunrise and the end of the austral night. Throughout the continent celebrations are held, as they have been held since early days of exploration, and messages of good will circulate among the stations.
Beginning with the International Geophysical Year, the President of United States has sent a special Midwinter's Message to all of the wintering personnel at U.S. and other nation's Antarctic stations. This year, President Obama focused on the passion for innovation and discovery that guides research in Antarctica and the vital insights that this research provides for understanding global climate. Commending their dedication, he says
"As you continue to brave harsh winter nights, know that your bold example will inspire future generations to expand the horizons of human knowledge. In keeping with the enduring Antarctic Treaty, your work will lead to broader cooperation among nations as we promote environmental stewardship and preserve our planet."
In closing President Obama sent his best wishes for a "a productive and satisfying year" and thanked them for a job well done.
For this year's greetings sent from McMurdo, Palmer, and South Pole stations, note the images that accompany this article. To learn more about the celebration, see the article Midwinter Moment in the The Antarctic Sun .