Today is the shortest day of the year

Cristina Cross
December 21, 2018

In the southern hemisphere it's exactly the opposite story - the South Pole is pointing towards the Sun, making it summertime "down-under".

The day of the winter solstice features the least amount of possible daylight hours and the longest night in the Northern Hemisphere.

People around the globe have celebrated this astronomical milestone for centuries.

You can determine the exact time of the solstice according to your location, here.

The word "solstice" comes from the Latin solstitium meaning "sun stands still", when the "motion of sun's path" stops briefly.

In Somerset, hundreds gathered at Glastonbury Tor to mark the winter solstice - which will this evening also see the longest night of the year. This happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere.

21, 2018, the winter solstice marks the official astronomical start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

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Newgrange, which consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers, is perhaps best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun.

The reason why is that a day - a solar day that is - is not always exactly 24 hours.

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That phenomenon is caused by Earth's axial tilt of about 23.5 degrees.

At the Stonehenge in United Kingdom, people come together to capture the moment when the sun aligns with the rocks at sunrise and sunset. The crowds await chance to see the sunrise light up the ancient passage tomb. That means our lunar neighbor should be plenty bright enough all weekend to light up your solstice celebrations.

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The festive food is said to bring prosperity and unity among families.

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