2019 Winter Solstice
Shortest Day of The Year
The shortest day of 2019 falls on today December 21, 2019 in the northern hemisphere! What is the winter solstice? Where did the word Solstice come from? Continue reading to learn more about the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere!
What is the winter solstice?
The winter solstice is the astronomical movement when the sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn. This means that we have the shortest day and the longest night of the year in terms of daylight. Whatever the actual weather is outside, currently the winter solstice marks the official start of winter. But how does this happen? It occurs when the Earth’s poles are at their maximum tilt away from the sun. This happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. This means that when it is our winter in the United States, it is the summer in Australia!
What does the Word Solstice mean?
The word solstice comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). During the solstice, the angle between the Sun’s rays and the plane of the Equator appears to stand still. While up here in the northern hemisphere we are celebrating the winter solstice, individuals in the southern hemisphere are celebrating the opposite summer solstice, which is their longest day of the year in terms of daylight.
Length of Days in the United States
During any solstice, the actual length of the day depends on your location on the Earth. For example. During the winter solstice in Fairbanks, Alaska the length of daylight was only 3 hours and 41 minutes. Further down the Earth, closer to the Equator we have Honolulu, Hawaii and their length of daylight was 10 hours and 50 minutes. If you live closer to the Equator the length of daylight is a minimal change throughout the year. If you live closer to the poles of the Earth, the length of daylight is a very significant change.
Below are a list of activities that could be fun depending on where you live!
Northern Hemisphere: Winter
- Make a nice cup of hot cocoa
- Snuggle in bed with a good book
- Build a gingerbread house
- Make a winter plan
Southern Hemisphere: Summer
- Enjoy a day of sunbathing outside
- Go for a walk or a run outside
- Apply Sunscreen! You should technically be doing this one everyday!
- Meet up with a friend for a meal
- Photograph nature
- Make a summer bucket list
Did you learn something today? Do you enjoy these types of blog posts? Which hemisphere are you in, and is it your winter or your summer? Let us know in the comments below! We at Soma hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season!