The Long (And Short) Of The Winter Solstice

Kelvin Reese
December 24, 2017

In the Lower 48, the sun is up for more than 10 hours across Florida and southern Texas, while states across the northern tier get under nine hours of daylight.

Will shadows on the day of the solstice be longer?

In the north, summer is on the horizon.

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.

Thursday is the winter solstice - the shortest day of 2017. The winter solstice is the moment that the earth is tilted furthest away from the sun, and it will happen exactly at 11:28 a.m. ET.

Yes, although obviously the particular time will vary depending on where you are in the world.

Google's statement about the Doodle choice also provides more information on the winter solstice, including the exact time it will take place. In the June solstice, conversely, it reaches its most northerly latitude, over the Tropic of Cancer.

What time is sunset on winter solstice
GETTY- STOCK IMAGESIt is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere

Why isn't the winter solstice on the same day each year?

50 years ago, on December 21, 1967, Irish archaeologist Dr. Michael J.

And that's why, for millennia, humans have celebrated the solstice-for the return of the sun that it marks.

The word "solstice" comes from the Latin words sol sistere, which means "sun standing still". The Stonehenge monument is shaped so it aligns with the winter's solstice sunset.

Cattle were slaughtered and eaten to reduce the need for feed in the austere winter months; wine and beer were fermented in time for the festivities.

In Germany and Scandinavia, a 12-day solstice ("Yule") is observed from mid-December, to which the rest of Europe and North America owes many of its Christmas customs, from the tree and front door wreath to the chocolate log.

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