The Winter Solstice: First day of winter and more sunlight

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PLANET EARTH (WBRE/WYOU) — For those in the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs every year on December 21 or 22, marking the first day of winter.

The Winter Solstice will occur on December 21, at 10:59 a.m., making it the shortest day and longest night of the year, according to earthsky.org.

The solstice works in a very specific way with the Northern Hemisphere, Earth’s axis and very specific degrees of rotation, at which point the sun travels the shortest path through the sky. This results in the shortest day of the year and the longest night, according to space.com

When the Winter Solstice occurs, the Earth is in a position where the sun stays below the North Pole’s horizon. The Earth’s axis has tilted around 23.4 degrees away from the sun, at which point the Northern Hemisphere is as far away from the sun as it can get. This shifts the sun’s powerful rays south from the equator, according to britannica.com.

Locations north of the equator, for example, Northeastern Pennsylvania, have day lengths shorter than 12 hours. The shortest day being the Winter Solstice. After which, the days will get longer and the nights will get shorter, according to earthsky.org.

It is essentially a shift in seasons. Nearly everyone notices and nearly everyone looks forward to more sunlight.

On the day of the solstice, stand outside at exactly 12:00 p.m. and look at your shadow. It’s the longest shadow the sun will cast all year long.

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