Winter Solstice livestream as it happens from Newgrange

Winter Solstice livestream as it happens from Newgrange

The tilt of the Earth - not our distance from the sun - is what causes winter and summer.

This day each year is known as the Winter Solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the sun take its lowest and shortest path across the southern sky, and at local noon, your shadow will be the longest of the year. All in all, the idea of the winter solstice is pretty depressing, especially because there are still three solid months of winter left.

"Earth's axis is tilted 23.5 degrees relative to its orbit, and on December 21, Earth will be at the point in its orbit when the North Pole is tilted at its maximum away from the sun", Schneider told CBS News.

Why doesn't the earliest sunset come on the shortest day?

To summarise the point here, the solstices represent that moment in time when the Sun reaches its most northern or southern point. So Winter officially starts tomorrow at 11:28 PM EST.

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You would think our temperatures will be at the coldest on the Winter Equinox but the truth is that there is a lag time in the cold.

It's often referred to as the shortest day of the year, and it is, sort of. This will give us our longest day. The further north you are, the less sunlight you'll get.

One of the most famous solstice celebrations occurs at the ancient Stonehenge ruins in Wiltshire, England, where druids, pagans and other revelers gather each year to celebrate the event.

However, most locations don't have their earliest sunset or latest sunrise on the solstice.

For thousands of years, people have taken part in rituals to mark the occasion.

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