Winter is coming. As we speak, in truth!
Every December, the winter solstice marks the official begin of astronomical winter within the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day of the yr. This yr, the winter solstice happens right this moment, which implies that from right here on out, every day might be longer than the final for the subsequent six months.
The winter solstice happens on Wednesday (Dec. 21) at 4:48 p.m. EST (2148 GMT), according to Farmer’s Almanac (opens in new tab). For these of us within the Northern Hemisphere, the times will step by step start to get longer and the nights shorter going ahead into winter. The sun will start rising later and setting earlier, and can seem decrease within the sky at native midday. In truth, if you can also make it exterior round midday native time right this moment, check out your shadow; it ought to be the longest noontime shadow of the yr as a result of low angle of the solar.
Associated: When is the Winter Solstice and what happens?
Seasons on Earth happen not due to our distance from the solar, however due to the planet’s tilt. In truth, Earth’s perihelion, or closest distance to the solar, comes in the course of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter. In 2023, it can fall on Jan. 4, in accordance with In-The-Sky.org (opens in new tab).
The winter and summer solstices happen as a result of Earth is tilted 23.5 levels on its axis, and the second of every solstice happens when the axis is tilted within the route of the solar. In the course of the winter solstice, South Pole is tilted in direction of the solar, and through the summer season solstice in June, the North Pole is tilted in direction of the solar.
In the course of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the solar, not tilted in direction of it. (This tilt is why we expertise seasons, and why the seasons are flipped within the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.)
In the course of the winter solstice, the solar reaches the southernmost level within the sky from the attitude of Earth — at midday, the solar will seem immediately overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn, at 23.5 levels south.
At midday within the Northern Hemisphere, the solar will seem at its lowest level within the sky in comparison with the place it’s at midday all through the remainder of the yr, which is why this marks the shortest day of 2022 within the Northern Hemisphere. Within the Southern Hemisphere, nonetheless, it will likely be the longest day of 2022.
Midwinter festivals have lengthy been celebrated on the winter solstice annually by present and historical cultures. In truth, many components of the Christmas vacation had been influenced by the Roman pagan midwinter pageant Saturnalia, which celebrated the god of agriculture and time and fell close to the winter solstice annually.
According to History.com (opens in new tab), the winter solstice fell on Dec. 25 on the Julian calendar, which was utilized by the Historical Romans; right this moment we use the Gregorian calendar, which has the winter solstice fall on both Dec. 21 or Dec. 22.
Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).
Leave a Reply