The science behind the solstice! 🌞

Today, Monday, we welcome the astronomical winter season — the solstice officially takes place at 5:02 am!

On this day, at solar noon, the sun’s direct rays fall at 23.4 degrees south of the equator (called the Tropic of Capricorn). For New Yorkers, this means that the noon sun angle is at its lowest point in the sky of any day of the year.

The Hudson Valley has a day length of about 9 hours and 10 minutes in contrast to the 15 hours and 11 minutes that occur on the summer solstice.

Despite Monday featuring the least daylight of the year, it will not have the latest sunrise. Sunrises get slightly later through the first week of January with the latest occurring at 7:22 am. This offset is caused by the the fact that the solar day is slightly longer than 24 hours for a time after the solstice.

The Southern Hemisphere is having its longest day of the year. Antarctica has 24 hours of daylight. The North Pole has no daylight.

While the arrival of astronomical winter and shortest day may remind you that there’s plenty of cold, sometimes snowy, weather to come, there’s a silver lining: the days now start getting longer until summer arrives in June.

Tuesday has a day length of 3 seconds longer. By the end of January, days are 50 minutes longer!

Learn more about the difference between astronomical and meteorological seasons here.


Check out the maps to see the day length in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere...

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