The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year.
Thank goodness… Now the days will start to get longer again.
This year it occurs on 21st June but can be from the 20-22 June.
Sunrise, sunset and daylight hours
An interesting note about the summer solstice is that it’s not the earliest sunrise and latest sunset. Similarly, on the winter solstice, the sunrise is not the latest and the sunset is not the earliest. However, it does have the least amount of daylight hours.
Because the path of the Earth around the Sun is an ellipse, not a circle, and because the Earth is off-centre on its axis, these combined phenomena can create up to several minutes difference between solar and mean time. Around the date of summer solstice, these effects make the Sun appear to move slightly slower than expected when measured by a watch or clock. As a result, the earliest sunrise occurs before the date of the summer solstice, and the latest sunset happens after the summer solstice. For the same reasons, around the winter solstice, the time of sunrise continues to get later in the days after the solstice.
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied across cultures, but many have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.
Stonehenge in the Northern Hemisphere is a well-documented example of this.
Now that we know that, we can be pleased to see a little more daylight from now on.
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