northern hemisphere

the shortest day and longest night of the year

December 21, 2022

The days have grown shorter and the nights have gotten longer for the last six months in the Northern Hemisphere.

The sun seems directly over the equator at the winter solstice because that is where the Tropic of Capricorn is located. This is a line of latitude 23.5.  Right now, the sun appears to be slowly heading back towards the south.

In the Northern Hemisphere, we observe the lowest and shortest path of the sun across the sky during winter.

If  the sun is low in the sky, you'll have your longest midday shadow of  the year on the winter solstice (assuming skies are clear).

When the sun is highest in the sky, it’s summer and the days are getting longer. That’s when this cycle starts. At that time the days get shorter and the nights get longer by minutes.

Stonehenge, located in southern England, is visited by many pagans. Thousands of people still gather there to celebrate the winter solstice with rituals.

The origin of Christmas trees and wreaths can be found in the 12-day pagan holiday of Yule, which centered around the solstice.

Celtic druids acknowledge the winter solstice by lighting a yule log to  keep darkness at bay. And they hang mistletoe to ward off evil spirits during the holiday season.