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Winter solstice 2017: What to know about the year's shortest day

23 December, 2017, 01:55 | Author: Janis Wilson
  • A reveller celebrates winter solstice at the Newgrange on Dec 21 2016

Further south, the winter solstice sun will set in Dallas at 5:25, giving residents nine hours and 59 minutes of daylight.

The annual pagan celebration, also known as midwinter, signifies the astrological start of the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. We're here to answer all your questions!

What is the winter solstice, and why do we have it? The 23.5-degree tilt of Earth's axis is responsible for the seasons. Up above the Arctic Circle, the sun never rises on this day. It will tweet once a day with updates on the sunrise, sunset, and total amount of daylight hours. However, that's not the case for everyone. In the United States, it happened at 11:28 a.m. ET Thursday (10:28 a.m. CT, 9:28 a.m. MT, 8:28 a.m. PT). Conversely, people living in the Southern Hemisphere will experience its summer solstice at the same time.

There may be other subtle changes that you see today during winter solstice, according to astronomical website EarthSky.

Of course, it's all opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, where December 21 marks the beginning of astronomical summer.

That's because our calendars aren't a precise match to the solar year.

More news: Bell ringers needed as kettle campaigns near goals

HollywoodLifers, are you a winter person or a summer person? There are two solstices a year. Our coldest time of the year is nearly a month later, around January 14 each year.

The opposite is true in the Southern Hemisphere where the day is long because the sun will be at its highest point in the sky today. And be sure to look at your noontime shadow.

Let's give you the numbers for the day! But that's nearly a minute longer than the shortest solar day, which occurs in mid-September around the time of the equinox. However, there's a plus side: Since it's the shortest day of the year, that means that, slowly, but surely, the days will start getting longer. The exact date of the earliest sunset depends on your latitude, so it's not the same for everyone. The further north you are, the less sunlight you'll get. As we get closer to Daylight Savings, the days will gradually get just a little bit longer, with more sunlight.

What does all of this have to do with Stonehenge?

To summarise the point here, the solstices represent that moment in time when the Sun reaches its most northern or southern point.

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