Winter Solstice 2016: Shortest Day Of The Year Is Wednesday, 21 December

Posted: Dec 20 2016, 5:16am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Winter Solstice 2016: Shortest Day of the Year is Wednesday, 21 December
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  • The Winter Solstice of 2016 and the Shortest Annual Day

The winter solstice of 2016 is here and thus the shortest annual day will be a blip on the radar of human culture.

The December solstice occurs at the same time for all earthlings. In the present year, it will occur on Wednesday, December 21st. The time is 10:44 GMT.

This solstice occurs every year when the sun reaches the utmost southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. This is the point in time when the north pole is tilted furthest away from the sun. The smallest span of time in which the sunlight reaches the earth thus takes place at this time.

The sun is above the Tropic of Capricorn in the south during the December solstice. It is also closer to the horizon than usual. Thus you have smaller days and lengthier nights.

This shortest day of the year lasts for 7 hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds in the UK, according to Telegraph. This is 8 hours, 49 minutes shorter than the day on the June solstice. Slowly imperceptibly after the winter solstice, the days begin increasing in length. This leads to the summer solstice.

In the southern hemisphere though, the opposite is true. Dawn occurs earlier and dusk occurs later than usual. The sun is up in the sky and the shortest noontime shadow occurs at the spot.

Thus in the southern hemisphere, people experience their shortest night and longest day instead. This might sound paradoxical but it is true. Although the date is 21st of December when the winter solstice occurs, the exact time does vary on an annual basis.

In the north, winter solstice means that the shortest day of the year will take place. There is of course a small difference in our man-made clocks and the actual solar time that registers on a natural and universal basis.

Enthusiasts often gather at Stonehenge, England when the winter solstice comes. This ancient druid site is located at Wiltshire. The giant magaliths, that form carefully aligned structures, show that they were once used to make astronomical observations.

The ancients built Stonehenge between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. To these ancient druids, the winter solstice was more important than the summer solstice.

Livestock was slaughtered during this time and beer and wine were brewed by these people of yore. In 2009 some people who were druid enthusiasts showed up a day earlier for the winter solstice. Yet they were allowed to enter the area and partake in the celebration of the winter solstice time of year.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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