In the winter, the days are short and the nights are long. One day in December, in particular, marks the shortest day of the year known as the Winter Solstice. If you live in New York, at 5:44 A.M. on Wednesday, December 21, raise your eyes to the sky and behold the Winter Solstice.
The solstice is, in fact, a single moment. It marks the time when the Earth’s axis and the Northern Hemisphere are tilted furthest away from the sun.
On Wednesday, folks on America’s East Coast will only get nine hours and 24 minutes of sunlight. Which means 14.5 hours of darkness. You might think 15 hours of darkness is bad news, but look on the bright side: Our friends in the Arctic Circle live in the dark 24/7. How depressing!
The earliest sunsets occurred from December 2 to December 11, at around 4:43 P.M.
The latest sunrises will occur from December 28 to January 11, arriving at 7:26 A.M. Another reason to sleep in after holiday feasts.
Don’t get tricked into thinking the worst is over, now that the shortest day of the year is behind us. Oh no. Because there’s a lagging effect in the sun’s warmth to reach Earth, the coldest months are still ahead of us. Time to get those earmuffs!
In the meantime, we’ll have to console ourselves with the knowledge that the days are getting longer starting Thursday!