Wednesday, 20 March, 2019


Winter Solstice 2018! Google Doodle Celebrates Year's Shortest Day

Winter Begins Winter Solstice 2018! Google Doodle Celebrates Year's Shortest Day
Kristine Garrett | 21 December, 2018, 23:39

Today is five hours and 47 minutes shorter than on the summer solstice (June 21).

There's some hope to be found in the gloom of these dark December days: The winter solstice is here, which means the days will gradually get longer after Friday.

The solstice, which marks the start of winter, is actually a single moment in the Earth's orbit when the northern hemisphere is most inclined away from the sun.

The winter solstice falls on December 21, making it the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

But in the United Kingdom (and rest of the northern hemisphere) it means the sun rising earlier and setting later as we journey again towards the spring equinox.

This year's solstice is special as it will be followed the next day by the year's last full moon, called the Cold Moon, and the Ursid meteor shower. The full moon in the month of December is called "The Cold Moon". But that means it looks full Friday night and Saturday night. At the peak there should be about 11 sporadic meteors per hour just before dawn.

The Ursids meteor shower will be visible tonight.

The next time the full moon and solstice will come so close together is in 2029.

People around the world have celebrated this astronomical milestone for centuries.

There are countless cultures that have recognized the winter solstice.

In Somerset, hundreds gathered at Glastonbury Tor to mark the winter solstice - which will this evening also see the longest night of the year. Crowds selected by lottery wait for a chance to see the sunrise light up the ancient passage tomb. This treat is said to bring prosperity and unity-something all of us can enjoy on this auspicious day.

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