What Is Winter Solstice? Learn About the Shortest Day of the Year

by Wade Massey December 24, 2017, 0:45
What Is Winter Solstice? Learn About the Shortest Day of the Year

By the way, that same critter enjoying the winter season also takes refuge from the heat during the longest day of the year - wherever that may be.

That means that December 21 will be the shortest day of the year, with the least amount of hours of sunlight.

Unlike our ancestors, we know the astronomical phenomenon not to do with our distance from the sun but the tilt of the earth and how it orbits around the sun.

It was traditionally celebrated by Celtic priests, known as Druids, and each year thousands gather at sacred site Stonehenge to mark the pagan celebration. This year, that moment will occur at 16:28 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). And while today is not technically a holiday, it is the Winter Solstice for the Northern Hemisphere, and Google's Doodle did not forget to tell us.

The Earth's North Pole will be tilted farthest from the sun at 11:27 a.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, according to the National Weather Service. From that point on, periods of daylight get longer. Over the course of the year, Google Doodles remind Googlers of everything from quantum mechanics physicists to Mexican folk dancers.

The organisers of the event write on their website: "The Winter Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to be there".

You can see an archive of Google Doodles here.

Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day, December 25th, when we decorate our homes and communities with lights and stars to welcome the birth of the "true light of the world".

All this means the United Kingdom experienced a late sunrise at 8.04am this morning and will see an early sunset at 3.53pm this afternoon.

The prehistoric monument was built to align with the sun on this one morning every year, with the light hitting a special roofbox and illuminating the chamber.

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