Winter Officially Arrives Dec. 22

...The Winter Solstice...

As the Earth travels around the Sun in its orbit, the north-south position of the Sun changes over the course of the year due to the changing orientation of the Earth's tilted rotation axes with respect to the Sun. The dates of maximum tilt of the Earth's equator correspond to the summer solstice and winter solstice, and the dates of zero tilt to the vernal equinox and autumnal equinox.

In the northern hemisphere, the Winter solstice is day of the year (near December 22) when the Sun is farthest south. However, in the southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstices are exchanged so that the winter solstice is the day on which the Sun is farthest north. The winter solstice marks the first day of the season of winter. The declination of the Sun on the (northern) winter solstice is known as the tropic of capricorn (-23° 27').

The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word solstice, which comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, “sun” and -stitium, “a stoppage.” Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter. Of course, with the introduction of the new daylight saving times this year, the first Sunday in April has 23 hours and the last Sunday in October has 25 hours

This year the Winter solstice is expected to occur near 06:08 Universal Time (UT) or 12:08 am on December 22nd. Below you will find synthetic images (or a projection) of what daylight is expected to be near the approximate time of the Winter solstice. In constructing these images, the geometry of the Earth, Sun, and Moon is computed from the data in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory DE405/LE405 planetary and lunar ephemeris. The cloudless Earth map that is used is a processed version of a mosaic produced at NASA's Earth Observatory from images taken by the Terra satellite.

*Source: National Weather Service

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