Snowy Google Doodle marks winter solstice

Katie Ramirez
December 24, 2018

In the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed and 21 December is their summer solstice meaning it is the day with the most amount of daylight. PrinceGeorgeMatters has compiled some fun facts about the day to mark the occasion. The time that the solstice occurs and the day itself can shift because the solar year (the time it takes for the sun to reappear in the same spot as seen from Earth) doesn't exactly match our calendar year.

Although some people think that the whole day is the solstice, there is actually a specific time in the day when the solstice occurs. Sometimes it occurs on December 20, the 22nd, and even the 23rd, though it is rare. In fact, the last solstice to take place on December 23 was in 1903, and it won't happen again until 2303. This phenomenon occurs when one of the Earth's poles tilts away maximum from the Sun. If you want to be warm tomorrow, you better get to an airport and head to Australia, stat. The word solstice originate from the Latin word solstitium which means "sun stands still", when the movement of sun's path stops for a brief period of time.

What really happens on this day in the Southern Hemisphere is that "the sun ascends directly above the Tropic of Capricorn".

Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures the world over for thousands of years.

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A rare combination of astronomical events will allow fans of science and nature to enjoy the Ursids meteor shower and a full moon on Winter Solstice this afternoon. We also see the sun rise and set in the East and West at different points in the horizon. Another 92 days and 19 hours later, it will be the June solstice.

What's the significance of a solstice? The changing of the seasons and the lengthening and shortening of the day was extremely important for ancient people.

Pictured: Thor, the god of thunder, looking pleased with burned up logs. China marks the start of winter with the Dongzhi festival, during which families come together and enjoy rice balls called tangyuan.

It's still early in the winter, but if it's sunlight you're craving, you won't need to wait much longer.

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