The solstice marks the day of the year with the fewest hours of sunlightIs December 21 the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere?
And now, for the first time ever people from all the world can tune in live to watch this magical phenomenon created by the early Irish some 5000 years ago. But that usually doesn't make the solstice the coldest day of the year, or put it in the middle of winter. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25, just days after the solstice, and many believe the date of December 25 was chosen to overshadow the pagan celebrations of Saturnalia and Natalis Invicti, according to timeanddate.com.
The winter solstice, which marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, will happen at 11:28 a.m. "In the Southern Hemisphere, Dec. 21 is the longest day of the year, and the days begin to shorten and the nights lengthen afterward". Precisely how short that is varies with how far north or south you are-around the solstice, the sun never truly rises at the north pole.
That means December, January and February are the height of summer in countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The monument is carefully positioned so that on the day of the winter solstice, the sun sets through a gap in the stones. The Sun then "turns around" on its journey to the summer solstice, which happens this year on June 21.
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These are referred to as the spring and fall equinox, marking the start of the seasons in the astrological calendar.
What's a solstice and why is my day going to drag on?
Most years, it falls on the 21st in the United Kingdom, but sometimes it lands a little bit off-kilter, because it takes the Earth 365 and a quarter days to go around the sun. This will give us our longest day.