5 Fun Facts about Winter Solstice
Dec 16, 2015
For those of us who love to cuddle up during the chilly months, December 21st may be the perfect day - that is, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere. December 21st at 8:49 PM PST marks the darkest day of the year (literally). Why, you ask? Because the December Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the Sun. Meanwhile, on the day of the December Solstice, the Southern Hemisphere has its longest day and shortest night.
For those who are not fans of winter, don’t worry! From here on out, the days will get lighter and lighter. For winter lovers, there’s also good news - the coldest temperatures are still to come.
Check out these awesome facts about Winter Solstice!
Second Solstice of the Year
Solstices happen twice a year - once around June 21 and then again around December 21. On the June Solstice, the Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere, while on the December Solstice, the Sun shines directly over the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Solstice's Date Varies
The December Solstice can happen on December 20, 21, 22 or 23, although December 20 or 23 solstices are rare. The last December 23 solstice was in 1903!
The Sun Stands Still
On this day, the Sun reaches its southernmost position as seen from the Earth. The Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction, also called the day the Sun turns around.
Earliest Sunset Does Not Happen on This Day
Most places in the Northern Hemisphere see their earliest sunset a few days before the Solstice and their latest sunrise a few days after the Solstice. This happens because of the difference between how we measure time using watches and the time measured by a sundial.
Daylight Hours Increase Faster at Northern Latitudes
If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, the increase rate of daylight hours depends on your location's latitude - in more northern latitudes you will see a rapid increase in daylight hours compared to if you're in the more southern latitudes.
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Posted by: Kimi Sakamoto