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Wednesday, 21 December 2016
First day of winter - 21st December
What exactly is the winter solstice?
The December solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth. This year the solstice occurs on Wednesday December 21st at 10:44 GMT (Universal time).
The winter solstice happens every year when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted farthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year.
The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December solstice and is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year, meaning shorter days and longer nights.