Winter Solstice 2018: Today, December 21, marks the Winter solstice the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere — the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It happens once a year in every hemisphere and perhaps the reason why this day is so unique.
This is the day when Sun appears at its most southern position. The solstice this year is also special because it will be followed the next day by a full moon, called the Cold Moon, which will be visible in the night with the Ursid meteor shower. Here’s all you need to know about the Winter solstice, how long is it, and its relevance.
What does solstice mean?
The term ‘solstice’ is derived from two Latin words “sol” which means sun, and “sistere”, meaning standstill. The Sun seems to stand still in the winter sky, marking the shortest day and longest night of the year.
What is the Winter solstice stonehenge?
The Winter solstice 2018 will mark the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, when the sun appears at its most southern position, directly overhead along the Tropic of Capricorn. It also marks the longest day of the year in the Southern hemisphere. It will come with a full moon in the sky. The full moon will be visible between December 21 and December 22.
When is the Winter solstice and how long is it?
The solstice takes place on December 21, which is today. The exact time would be 5:23pm EST (for the US, Canada, and Latin America). In India, the Winter solstice will take place at 3:35am IST on December 22. during thus this time of the year, the length of the day reaches 24 hours 30 seconds
WHAT ABOUT THE MOON?
The last full moon of the year will come less than a day after the solstice.
However, when you’re looking out into a clear sky on Friday night, the moon will appear full to you — and could be so bright that people with pretty good eyesight could read by it.
Over many centuries, this moon has been called several names: Cold Moon, Cold Full Moon, Long Night Moon (by some Native American tribes) or the Moon Before Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon lunar calendar).
If you’re wondering how special this Cold Moon is so close to the solstice, it will be 2029 before it happens again. So it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime event, but still, you don’t see this too often.
THE METEOR SHOWER
The annual Ursids meteor shower is expected to peak a day or two after the solstice.
The website in-the-sky.org has a feature to help you figure out where to watch and how many meteors you might see. For instance, people in South Florida might expect just three per hour while people in Juneau, Alaska, might expect seven per hour.
According to the site, stargazers across Hampton Roads are expected to be able to see between four and 10 meteors per hour.
One caveat: That Cold Moon will be so bright that it could outshine some of the meteors as they streak in, making them harder to spot.