Winter Solstice - Everything to Know About the Shortest Day of the Year

Winter Solstice 2021 – everything to know about the shortest day of the year

/ 10:42 AM December 21, 2021

Wherever you are, the sun hits its southernmost part in the sky. This happens during the winter solstice, according to NASA. This Tuesday marks the beginning of the winter solstice. It is an astronomical winter in the Northern hemisphere. This is following the exact moment when the North Pole is at its farthest position from the sun.

When the winter solstice occurs, the sun is straight over the Tropic of Capricorn. Which is located at 23.5 degrees south of the equator.

While the winter solstice is also the shortest day of the year, it also marks the official start of the winter season. Meanwhile in Chicago, people will just experience the sun for 9 hours and 11 minutes. Sunrise is set after 7:13 am and sunset will be as early as 4:24 pm at Central Standard Time. Although the length of the day depends on the location’s latitude.


However, even if the winter solstice marks the start of winter in the North Pole, meteorologists consider the first day of winter as Dec.1. Which sets the start of the coldest months in the Northern Hemisphere.

In short, the farther north you are, the shorter your days will be. This is because the sun rises later and sets sooner. This is according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For areas with the same latitudes, their sunrise and sunset depend on their longitude.

Though most locations don’t experience their latest sunrise or earliest sunset on the solstice, these occurrences happen weeks before or after Dec.21. Also, the date of the winter solstice depends from year to year. The date can fall anytime from Dec. 20-23. Though the most common dates are between the 21st and 22nd.

After Tuesday, sunrises will set later but sunsets will continue to occur later at a faster rate. This will help Chicago recover from their lost daylight.

Compared to the northern half of the globe, the southern part will have its longest day and shortest night during the winter solstice. In the Northern portion, days will be shorter than 12 hours. While the southern portions will experience days longer than 12 hours.

Aside from the time differences per region, discrepancies in the temperature also vary. It’s not usually the coldest day of the year for some locations. There’s a bit of delay between the coldest day and the winter solstice for most parts of the United States.

The temperature lag happens due to the increase in the amount of daylight. The Earth’s surface remains losing more heat than the amount it receives from the sun. Most areas achieve their minimum daily temperature 2-3 weeks later from early to mid-January

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TAGS: Chicago, extreme weather, interesting topics, winter
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