What exactly is the Winter Solstice?

21st December 2016    News

Today is the shortest day of the year and it’s the Winter Solstice but what exactly is the Winter Solstice?

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The Winter Solstice happen every year for everyone across the world. It’s when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. At this point in the year the North Pole is at its furthest away from the sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year. In the Southern hemisphere, the opposite occurs. This part of the world receives its longest day and shortest night.

If you like a fact, here’s one for you! The shortest day lasts for 7 hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds in Britain. This day is actually 8 hours, 49 minutes shorter than in the June solstice!

Nearby Stonehenge is iconic at Winter and Summer solstices. The prehistoric monument is carefully aligned on a slight-line that points to the Winter Solstice sunset.  The Winter Solstice marks the ‘turning of the sun’ as the days slowly get longer. Celebrations of the lighter days to come are common throughout history with feasts, festivals and even holidays to mark the occasion.

 

Red New Year tree decoration and red garland lying on wooden light brown table. From above