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Shortest Day of the Year in the Northern Hemisphere

The December solstice is on either December 20, 21, 22 or 23.

The North Pole is tilted furthest from the Sun.decembe

It is the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, where
it is the darkest day of the year.

In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the summer solstice and
the longest day of the year.

December Solstice in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is on
Friday, December 21, 2018 at 5:23 pm EST

 

The Sun's Position

The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December Solstice.

The December Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.4 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the Sun.

 

Midnight Sun or Polar Night

Being the longest day of the year, also means that people in the areas south of the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the Midnight Sun, i.e. have 24 hours of daylight, during this time of the year.

For people in the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice marks the exact opposite, the day of the year with fewest hours of daylight. North of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole there is no direct sunlight at all during this time of the year.

 

Solstices in CultureDateline

The December solstice has played an important role in cultures worldwide from ancient times until our day. Even Christmas celebrations are closely linked to the observance of the December solstice.

There are also customs linked to the June solstice along with traditions linked to the Spring (vernal) equniox and the Fall (autumnal) equinox.

 

December solstice in the Calendar

December 21 or 22 solstices happen more often than December 20 and 23 solstices. The last December 23 solstice was in 1903 and will not happen again until 2303. A December 20 solstice has occurred very rarely, with the next one in the year 2080

 

Why Do the Dates Vary?

As with the June solstice, the December solstice’s varying dates are mainly due to the calendar system. The Gregorian calendar, which is used in most western countries, has 365 days in a common year and 366 days in a leap year.

However, the tropical year, which is the length of time the sun takes to return to the same position in the seasons cycle (as seen from Earth), is different to the calendar year. The tropical year is approximately 365.242199 days but varies from year to year because of the influence of other planets. The exact orbital and daily rotational motion of the Earth, such as the “wobble” in the Earth's axis (precession), also contributes to the changing solstice dates.

The solstices can also be observed by noting the point of time when the sun rises or sets as far south as it does during the course of the year (winter in the Northern Hemisphere) or maximally north (summer in the Northern Hemisphere).timeanddate.com

 

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