Winter Solstice 2018: When is the Winter Solstice? Is it the longest night of the year?

Daily Express :: Science Feed
Winter Solstice 2018: When is the Winter Solstice? Is it the longest night of the year?

In the Northern Hemisphere where the calendar winter is already underway, the Winter Solstice kick starts the astrological season. The solstice always occurs towards the end of December and six months after the Summer Solstice in June. Stargazers often look forward to the Winter Solstice thanks to its reputation as the longest night and shortest day of the year. Here is everything you need to know about the wintry astrological phenomenon.

When is the Winter Solstice 2018?

This year, the Winter Solstice falls on Friday, December 21.

On this day, the Earth’s tilted axis will face farther away from the Sun in the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in colder .

At the same time, the South Pole will face closer to the Sun, resulting in warmer weather in the Southern Hemisphere.

According to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the exact moment of the solstice will happen at 10.23pm here in the UK.

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Is the Winter Solstice the longest night of the year?

The Winter Solstice, which always occurs in December, is generally considered to be a whole-day – a 24-hour-long – event.

On the night of the solstice, the amount of daylight is limited and the darkness of night takes over for the majority of the day.

The Royal Observatory said: “The shortest day lasts for 7 hours 49 minutes and 41 seconds in London, UK.

“This day is 8 hours, 49 minutes shorter than the June Solstice.”

After the shorter day of the Winter Solstice, the days will gradually become longer and longer and nights shorter.

Day and night will once again last roughly the same amount of time on the day of the Spring Equinox in March – around three months from now.

During the Spring Equinox, day and night last about 12 hours each.

The opposite is true after the Summer Solstice when daylight wanes with each passing day and nighttime takes over.

What causes the Winter Solstice?

Because of the Earth’s tilt in relation to the Sun, the planet’s poles face the glowing heart of our solar system either towards or away from it.

The Royal Observatory explained: “The winter solstice occurs at the minimum point for the northern hemisphere when the Sun is lowest in the sky.

At this time, the Earth's North Pole is pointing away from the Sun – which is why it is so much colder in the Northern hemisphere.

“For people living in the Southern hemisphere, the South Pole is pointing towards the Sun, making it summertime 'down-under’.”

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