Winter Solistice 2018: Google Doodle celebrates the shortest day of the year

Katie Ramirez
December 21, 2018

On Friday 21 December the northern hemisphere experiences something called the Winter solstice.

The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year.

"You won't notice it immediately", National Weather Service meteorologist Lamont Bain said. Native Americans marked December's full moon as the beginning of the coldest part of the year.

The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, is a phenomena that occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun.

In the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, located at 23.5° south of the equator. According to, the last time a full moon coincided with the solstice was in 2010, and it is not expected to happen again until 2094.

In Sydney, Australia, they're having their summer solstice - mornings will start getting darker from the middle of December, and evenings will get lighter until early January. The Long Night Moon is named after the longest night of the year on the winter solstice.

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In total, four suspects have been arrested on suspicion of having killed the backpackers, whose bodies were discovered on Monday. Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said at a news conference on Thursday the deaths were a "beastly crime".

There will be a winter trifecta the next few days with the winter solstice, a full moon and a meteor shower.

Friday night is the best time to see the full cold moon.

Because of this year's overlap, NASA's meteor expert Bill Cooke dubbed the meteor shower the "Cursed Ursids".

In Ireland, people gather days before the solstice at Newgrange - a massive gravesite that's more than 5,000 years old.

At the Stonehenge in United Kingdom, people come together to capture the moment when the sun aligns with the rocks at sunrise and sunset. While locals enjoy rice balls meaning "family reunion".

Some Scandinavian and Germanic peoples in northern Europe celebrate with Yule, a day of gathering and gift giving.

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