The Winter Solstice and the Shortest Day of 2023: An Explanation

Winter Solstice

In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice signifies the longest night and the shortest day of the year. The sun appears at its lowest arc in the sky around December 21st, when the Earth’s axial tilt is at its furthest point from the sun.

Winter Solstice
A winter landscape with large frost covered tree. XL image size.

A momentous occasion occurs on Thursday, December 21, 2023, at 10:27 p.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time), when the sun rises above the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere, signaling the start of a historic occasion.

This Thursday is the winter solstice, which marks the official beginning of winter.

A new season officially begins on the winter solstice, which occurs north of the equator, and the summer solstice, which occurs south of it.

The winter solstice, which marks the shortest day of the year for the more than 6 billion people who live north of the equator, is drawing near in the Northern Hemisphere.

Although the season of joy and holiday lights may conceal it, December 21st, the darkest day of the year, is drawing near.

Important Facts:

Although meteorological winter started at the beginning of the month, the winter solstice officially ushers in astronomical winter.

The Winters solstice means that the southern half of the planet experiences more than 12 hours of daylight, while the northern hemisphere experiences less than 12 hours.

The days get longer after the winter solstice and continue until the summer solstice in June.

An explanation of the Solstice

According to astronomy, it is the start of summer in the southern hemisphere and winter in the northern. The longest day and the shortest night of the year occur in the south, while the shortest day and longest night occur in the north.

This is all but a narrative about the rotation of our planet. Because of the 23.5-degree tilt of the Earth’s axis, different regions of the planet receive sunlight for varying periods of time during our yearly orbit around the sun. An impact that occurred billions of years ago most likely caused it.

Winter Solstice

Is December 21 the shortest day of the year?

On December 21, the limited exposure to direct sunlight renders it the briefest day of the year in the United States. According to insights from NASA, regions situated north of the equator experience daylight durations less than 12 hours, while areas to the south enjoy daylight durations exceeding 12 hours.

The solstice marks not only the shortest day—Chicago saw less than nine hours and eight minutes of daylight on December 21—but also the point in time when the Earth’s axis is tilted furthest from the sun.

Why does people refer to the winter solstice as the first day of winter?

The astronomical winter and summer seasons are thought to begin at the two solstices.

The solstices and equinoxes, which are the times when the sun crosses the equator, indicate the astronomical seasons. Meteorological seasons, which divide the year into three-month segments according to cycles in temperature, are distinct from astronomical seasons and “are more closely tied to our monthly civil calendar than the astronomical seasons are.

When do the winter solstices and winter officially begin in 2023?

According to NASA’s, (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) the winter solstice this year will occur on December 21 at precisely 9:27 p.m., making it the shortest day of the year in terms of total daylight hours.

After the winter solstice, what happens?

On the plus side, more daylight will arrive each day after the solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, culminating in the joyous arrival of the summer solstice on June 20, 2024.

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