The Sky Tonight Update: December Solstice

The December solstice occurs at 10:02 UTC (4:02am Central time). During the winter solstice, the earth’s axis is tilted at its furthest point from the sun. This means that, for us in the northern hemisphere, the sun is at its lowest point in the sky.

Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals.  It marked the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun.  The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.

It’s also the shortest day of the year – and the longest night.  This is the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

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