Published: Fri, December 22, 2017
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Watch the Winter Solstice happening at Newgrange

Watch the Winter Solstice happening at Newgrange

The date of the winter solstice varies from year to year for people in different time zones. From a snapshot made on December 21, 2015, the Sun was digitally overlayed as a brilliant star at today's northern winter solstice position, close to the center of the Milky Way.

You probably know that the earth orbits the sun on a tilted axis and that in the Northern Hemisphere peak sunlight happens between June 20 and 22, on the summer solstice, while in the Southern Hemisphere peak sunlight occurs between December 20 and 22, for their summer solstice. If you want the scientific explanation, the Winter Solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of 23.5 degrees.

SOLSTICE SACRAMENTS A ceremony of light takes place at Newgrange for the Winter Solstice. Misty conditions blocked the solstice sunrise from entering the chamber
Watch the Winter Solstice happening at Newgrange

The Southern Hemisphere is opposite, where the shortest day is in June.

As the year progresses you may be surprised how much of a difference there is in the sunrises and sunsets between the winter and summer seasons. Conversely, at the equinoxes, the Earth takes slightly less than 24 hours to make a complete rotation. Say goodbye to shorter days, and ever so slowly start to welcome back more sun as the winter solstice arrives on Thursday. That's because on this day the sun appears to stop at the Tropic of Capricorn. Sunrise today at Fairbanks is at 10:58 am and sunset is 2:41 pm.

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This is because the tilt of the Earth's axis is least aligned with the sun, providing us with the least daylight of the year.

Why isn't the winter solstice on the same day each year?

The coldest days of the month often lag behind the winter solstice, coming in mid-January for cities like Chicago, Boston and even Miami. According to custom, it is believed that there is a certain amount of evil lurking during the long night, and celebrants stay up to protect and watch each other.

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In Virginia, that means we will have approximately nine hours and 26 minutes of daylight.

It celebrates the return of the sun, as every day now will see more sun. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from NY to Texas.

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The most well known is the celebration at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

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