Winter Solstice: December 22 marks the longest night of the year

Jace Amodo
PUBLISHED December 18, 2017 03:17 pm
People gather at the Stonehenge for the sunset of the winter solstice. Photo from Tim Ireland/AP Images.

(Inside Manila) On December 22, many time zones in the northern hemisphere, including the Philippines, will experience the shortest day of the year as the earth will be completing its annual circuit around the sun. With the winter solstice coming up fast, we decided to give (or remind) you of some interesting facts on this milestone of our planet.


Shortest day


The December Solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.4 degrees. The sun will then seem to stand still before it finally reverses its direction towards the north—an event that often termed “the day the sun turns around.” People in the southern hemisphere will experience the shortest amount of sunlight, hence the longest night of their year.


The closer your country is to the north, the less sunlight it will receive during the event. Filipinos can expect over 11 hours of sunlight on December 21 and 22. According to timeanddate.com, the sun will rise at 6:16 a.m. and set at 5:32 p.m.


Second Solstice of the year


Solstices happen twice a year: in June and in December. The June Solstice takes place around June 21, when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer. The winter solstice, meanwhile, happens around December when the sun is precisely overhead Tropic of Capricorn.


There were more winter solstices happening on December 21 or 22 than the 20th and 23rd. The last December 23 solstice was in 1903 and is predicted to only happen again in the year 2303; the next December 20 solstice in the year 2080.


The Summer Solstice


Conversely, the southern hemisphere is having its longest day of the year at the same time. The summer solstice, basically the opposite of everything we’ve already mentioned, occurs when the sun is at its maximum extent. This concurring event happens because equinoxes and solstices are opposite on opposite sides of the planet.

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