Google celebrates the solstice in both hemispheres

Snow in the Colorado foothills on Dec. 21 2017

Snow in the Colorado foothills on Dec. 21 2017

The opposite is true in the Southern Hemisphere where the day is long because the sun will be at its highest point in the sky today. That time this year is at 4:28 PM Universal Time, or 9:28 PM Eastern time on Thursday.

What time is sunset on the shortest day of the year?

"This effect, called 'the lag of the seasons, ' is similar to how when you turn down the heat while you're cooking - the pot won't immediately reach its coolest temperature".

For the south, it means that the days now begin to slowly shorten and the long journey towards winter has begun.

Let's give you the numbers for the day!

December 21 is the shortest day of the year above the Earth's equator and the longest Down Under.

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

December 21 marks our winter solstice, but it's the summer solstice if you head beneath the equator. The exact date of the earliest sunset depends on your latitude, so it's not the same for everyone. According to EarthSky.org, the earliest sunset of the year falls between November 29 and December 9 in the United States. But the axis isn't quite perpendicular to the path of its orbit, instead it is tilted on its side about 23 degrees, with the axis always pointing the same way into space.

What does all of this have to do with Stonehenge? And one of the most well-known winter solstice celebration is Yule, the pagan tradition of welcoming the sunrise with gratitude.

For thousands of years, people have taken part in rituals to mark the occasion. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is that the days now gradually become longer and the nights shorter.

The very orientation of the prehistoric Stonehenge standing stones in the United Kingdom is along a solstice axis, with a sightline pointing to the December solstice sunset.

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