The winter solstice is arriving on december 21, which has been announced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to be among 2017's longest solar days, with the shortest period of sunlight and longest period of night. That is because at the solstice, Earth's tilt means that the "terminator" - the line dividing day and night that can be seen in pictures taken from space - crosses the country diagonally.
In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are flipped compared to ours.
And now, for the first time ever people from all the world can tune in live to watch this magical phenomenon created by the early Irish some 5000 years ago. The solstice marks the exact time that the Northern Hemisphere is tilted farthest away from the sun. It will happen in the U.S.at exactly 11:28 a.m. ET, 10:28 a.m. CT, 9:28 a.m. MT, and 8:28 a.m. PT.
The solstice has always been an event celebrated by various cultures around the world.
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The most famous solstice celebration is associated with Stonehenge, a giant stone circle constructed in England around 2500 BC at a site that had been symbolically important for about 500 years before then.
In a discussion with USA Today, Rick Kline of the Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility at Cornell University elaborated on the cultural significance of the event.
The solstices, and the seasons they mark, are the result of a celestial coincidence.
Most years, it falls on the 21st in the United Kingdom, but sometimes it lands a little bit off-kilter, because it takes the Earth 365 and a quarter days to go around the sun. In most areas, that occurs either weeks before or after the upcoming event this Thursday.
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As a outcome, on December 21, the northern half gets the least solar radiation as it does all year long, and sees the fewest hours of daylight.
Although the weather will remain cold and harsh, at least you'll get a little more daylight every day.
Even though the days begin to get longer as we go through the month of January, the coldest temperatures of the season occur.
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