Winter is here...The solstice marks the shortest day of the year

Winter is here...The solstice marks the shortest day of the year

Winter is here...The solstice marks the shortest day of the year

Winter officially starts Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 11:28 AM.

CBS News asked University of MA astronomer Stephen Schneider to explain the astronomical cause of the solstice, and he answered seven basic questions about the phenomenon that everyone should know.

So what's behind the winter solstice? "The effect of this in the Arctic (within 23.5 degrees of the North Pole) is completely in darkness as Earth spins that day". However, that's not the case for everyone.

On winter solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is leaning the most away from the sun meaning it receives the least amount of possible daylight hours and the longest night.

In case you're not up on your winter solstice facts, here are a few bits of information that can get you prepared for astronomical conversations at the family dinner table or holiday cocktail parties.

That's because our calendars aren't a precise match to the solar year. This is because the earth is traveling its orbit around the sun on a tilted axis. The winter solstice, for you astronomical types.

The winter solstice is not normally the coldest day of the year.

When is the shortest day of the year? . Our coldest time of the year is nearly a month later, around January 14 each year. In other words, the energy being released from the oceans keeps us warmer a little longer.

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We tend to acknowledge the entire day as the solstice; but in actuality, the solstice happens at one specific point: when the sun is exactly overhead the Tropic of Cancer.

Exactly How Short Will The Day Be?

Why is today the shortest day of the year?

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EarthSky said: "You might notice how low the sun appears in the sky at local noon". If you're farther north, your earliest sunsets are around December 7.

The exact times of sunrise and sunset depend on two things: your latitude and geographic location within your time zone.

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

But many are still celebrating the ancient event that has been a tradition in cultures throughout history including Rome and Scandinavia, according to BBC.

It was traditionally celebrated by Celtic priests, known as Druids, and each year thousands gather at sacred site Stonehenge to mark the pagan celebration.

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