Happy Solstice: Astronomical Winter begins today

Jenna Warner
December 24, 2017

That is 5 hours and 32 minutes less daylight than Baltimore gets on the summer solstice, the "longest" day of the year. Boston's sunlight period ends a bit earlier, at 4:15 p.m., with nine hours and four minutes of daylight. "The effect of this in the Arctic (within 23.5 degrees of the North Pole) is completely in darkness as Earth spins that day". That's the home of the account's creator, web developer and npm CTO Laurie Voss.

Although the day symbolises the death of the old year, this is by no means a solemn occasion, with druids celebrating the renewal of life and rejoicing in a moment of seasonal rebirth.

"We're actually closer to the sun this time of year (also a surprise to many people) and moving faster in our orbit, so the Earth has to turn a little extra to face the sun each day compared to other times of year", Schneider says.

Here's the Google Doodle honoring the summer solstice, for folks Down Under. Eastern Time on Thursday, Dec. 21.

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".

GETTY- STOCK IMAGEWinter Solstice 2017 There will be seven hours and 50 minutes of daylight today
GETTY- STOCK IMAGEWinter Solstice 2017 There will be seven hours and 50 minutes of daylight today

The Winter Solstice is being livestreamed from inside the Newgrange site in Co Meath.

The date of the winter solstice varies from year to year for people in different time zones.

And in fact, the tradition of the Christmas tree may have its roots in such pre-Christian traditions associated with the solstice.

He explained that the sun gradually lights the chamber over five days, peaking today on 21 December.

The sunrise on the day is at 8.04am. But the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun and receives less solar energy. The winter solstice, for you astronomical types. The Stonehenge monument is shaped so it aligns with the winter's solstice sunset.

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