winter solstice

The winter solstice is today, December 21, 2019. You might have heard of the solstice and you might have a vague idea of what it is. To better understand this event, here are 3 basic things to know about the solstice:

1.What is the winter solstice?

The solstice is an astronomical event that occurs because the Earth is tilted. Because of this, the Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth. At the December solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is leaning most away from the sun for the year.

2.What does this mean?

This means we experience the longest night and shortest day of the year while those in the Southern Hemisphere will have their longest day and shortest night of the year.

3.When does it take place?

The 2018 December solstice takes place on Friday, December 21 at 4:23pm CST. The date of the winter solstice varies from year to year, and can fall anywhere between December 20 and December 23, with the 21st or 22nd being the most common dates. The reason for this is because the tropical year—the time it takes for the sun to return to the same spot relative to Earth—is different from the calendar year. The next solstice occurring on December 20 will not happen until 2080, and the next December 23 solstice will not occur until 2303.