Five things you should know about the shortest day of the year

22 December, 2017, 02:14 | Author: Myrtle Cook
  • Winter Solstice Is Celebrated At Stonehenge

This year, it's exactly 8:28 am Pacific Time on December 21st.

This Thursday is the Winter Solstice for the northern hemisphere, meaning it is the shortest day of the year, and even more important for celebrants of various walks - the longest night.

Technically, the solstice can happen any day between December 20 and December 23 because the calendars we use aren't the same length as a solar year. Every day the sun sets a little bit more south, until it reaches the point of the winter solstice. On the day of the solstice, the sun stops its southerly migration and appears to rise in the same spot for a few days (sun stands still). For a complete listing of the dates of the winter and summer solstices and the spring and fall equinoxes through 2025, check out this calendar from the U.S. Naval Observatory. During the Northern Hemisphere's winter, the land north of the equator is tilted away from the sun, which lowers the amount of the sun's energy warming the Northern Hemisphere. The significance of this event involves the sun shining directly over the Tropic of Capricorn marking the shortest day of 2017 for the entire Northern Hemisphere. "The extra 30 seconds of a solar day makes true solar noon - and sunrise and sunset - about 30 seconds later each day".

The Earth's tilted axis causes the seasons. Eastern Time on Thursday, Dec. 21. After today, we slowly begin our climb back up the hill with days getting a touch longer every single day until we see almost the same amount of day and night on March 20th, 2018 for the spring equinox.

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Check out the gallery above for last year's winter solstice from around the world. At the end of January, more heat finally begins arriving than leaving, and days slowly start to warm up.

On the 21st the Sun pauses in this the longest night of the year. Here in Lexington we will see nine hours and 31 minutes of daylight.

The annual pagan celebration, also known as midwinter, signifies the astrological start of the winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

In Fairbanks in Alaska, during the December solstice the sun only just makes it above the horizon before the world is dipped back into darkness.


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