The Sky Tonight Update: December Solstice

December Solstice

The December solstice occurs at 04:19 UTC. The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Sky Tonight Update: June Solstice

june solstice, autumn solstice, fall solstice

The June solstice occurs at 15:54 UTC. The North Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.44 degrees north latitude. This is the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Reason for the Season

Happy summer! Today is the Summer Solstice, our hemisphere’s longest day. Our Earth has seasons because its axis is tipped about 23 degrees, in other words it isn’t straight up and down. As the Earth orbits the Sun, the tilt causes us to experience seasons. In the United States, we have summer when the northern hemisphere is tilting towards the Sun. The summer solstice itself is the day when the axis is tilted most towards the Sun. From the ground, we can see that the Sun takes the highest path across the sky, and we experience the year’s longest day and shortest night. As the Earth continues in its orbit, the axis will slowly tilt away from the Sun. Little by little, we will see the Sun take a lower path across the sky and the days get shorter. Once the Earth has reached the opposite side of the Sun, its axis is tilted away and we experience winter. What’s happening in the Southern hemisphere during all of this? Exactly the opposite! They are having their Winter Solstice today.

seasons