Winter Solistice 2018: Google Doodle celebrates the shortest day of the year

Cristina Cross
December 21, 2018

On this day, the North Pole angles farthest away from the sun, the Google blog explained.

In the south, it's just the reverse though.

For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Dec. 21 marks the beginning of the longest night of the year - and, of course, the shortest day.

The winter solstice occurs at the minimum point for the northern hemisphere when the sun is lowest in the sky. The Sun will be directly above the Tropic of Capricorn at noon, marking the longest day in the southern hemisphere.

In India, this astronomical event - winter solstice 2018 or December Solstice - will take place at 3:53 am on December 22 IST.

If the weather obscures the sky and blocks out the moon on the night that it is full, onlookers can head outside and look to the sky the night before or the night after as it will still appear to be full.

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Shown above is the orientation of the Earth relative to the sun's most direct rays around the time of the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice. The full moon will happen December 22 around 12:49 p.m.

The number of daylight hours peaks at summer solstice - in the United Kingdom, summer solstice sees 16 hours, 38 minutes and 19 seconds of daylight to be enjoyed.

The occasion is a cause for celebration in some regions around the world.

And in Ireland, people gather days before the solstice at Newgrange - a massive gravesite that's more than 5,000 years old. The mob await chance to witness the sunrise light up the ancient passage tomb.

At Stonehenge, people come together to celebrate and capture the moment when the sun directly aligns with the famous stones. In China, winter's arrival is celebrated with the Dongzhi Festival. The treat is said to bring prosperity and unity. It's really a case of "Sunny side down" for the Earth today!

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