Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

Winter Solistice 2018: Google Doodle celebrates the shortest day of the year

Google Earth Pro An illustration of Earth during the December solstice in 2018 Google Earth Pro An illustration of Earth during the December solstice in 2018
Sandra Phillips | 24 December, 2018, 17:56

Solstices occur because the Earth spins on a tilted axis, so that for half the year the North Pole is pointed toward the sun, and the South Pole is pointed toward the sun during the other half of the year. The exact point of the solstice happened at 2:23 on Friday when the sun's rays were directly over the Tropic of Capriscorn, a line of latitude that circles the Earth.

The solstices and the equinoxes mark the four-yearly astronomical turning points as the earth makes it way around the sun.

Winter solstice on Google doodle: It is the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year. The Cold Moon marks the beginning of the coldest part of the year.

A snowy Google Doodle on Friday marked the 2018 winter solstice, the shortest day of the year when the Earth is farthest from the Sun.

When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, it experiences winter and, because the Sun's radiation is striking the Earth at a shallow angle, temperatures are colder. The time and day of solstice differ each year.

Today might feel like a long day, with America waiting to see if a shutdown comes to pass at midnight. In fact, the last solstice to take place on December 23 was in 1903, and it won't happen again until 2303.

Earth during december solstice summer winter tropic cancer capricorn tilt axis sunlight graphic insider shayanne gal

The full moon will actually occur on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 12:49 p.m., according to Space.com, but it will appear full both Friday night and Saturday night to the casual stargazer. Few things are as magical as the heavens full of shooting stars, and December gives us that gift in the form of the Ursid meteor shower.

A meteor shower will be visible if the skies are clear.

The annual Ursids meteor shower is expected to peak a day or two after the solstice.

The moon will still appear beautifully full enough on the solstice, even it's not as rare as if it were officially full.

The Chinese refer to the Winter Solstice as Dongzhi Festival.

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