Winter Trifecta: Solstice, Full Moon, Meteor Shower On Friday, Saturday

Cristina Cross
December 23, 2018

When: The event official occurs at 22:23 Universal Time, which would be about 5:23 p.m. ET or 3:23 p.m. MT. Here's all you need to know about the Winter solstice, how long is it, and its relevance.

2018 Winter Solstice is particularly special as the upcoming December full moon, named the Cold Moon, will be visible in the night sky along with the Ursid meteor shower.

The southern hemisphere will have four hours and 12 minutes more sunshine today than on the winter solstice on June 21.

Why it happens: "Because the Earth is tilted on its rotational axis, we experience seasons here on Earth".

Thousands of people gather around the landmark yearly to celebrate the winter solstice as, according to Pagan traditions, it marks the revival of the sun for the start of a new year.

The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year.

National Weather Service USA
National Weather Service USA

The winter solstice occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted the furthermost from the sun, decreasing the amount of energy that reaches Earth.

But in the United Kingdom (and rest of the northern hemisphere) it means the sun rising earlier and setting later as we journey again towards the spring equinox. The solstice marks the astronomical start of winter, whereas, in the Southern Hemisphere, December 21 marks the start of summer.

On December 22 at 17:49 UTC, people will be able to see the last full moon of the year. But because of the full moon, it might be hard to spot the meteors. The solstice happens at the same moment around the world, though the local time depends on which of the 24 time zones.

"The Earth's orbit also isn't perfectly circular and the summer solstice falls within two weeks of our closest approach to the Sun". Tonight-and indeed tomorrow night-the moon will appear particularly round and full in the night sky near the constellation Orion.

Now what about that meteor shower?

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