The shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice 2018 is almost here. The date of the Winter Solstice changes between Dec. 20 and Dec.23. This happens because the tropical year (the time it takes for the sun to return to the same spot relative to earth) is different from the normal calendar year. So when is the Winter Solstice 2018?
When is the Winter Solstice 2018?
This year the Solstice will happen on Friday, Dec. 21. Not only does it only happen on a specific day each year, it also happens for a specific and brief moment. The moment occurs exactly when the North Pole is aimed furthest away from the sun on the 23.5-degree tilt of the earth's axis. According to Mental Floss, the solstice will occur at 11:28 am EST this year on Dec. 21, and regardless of where you live the Solstice happens at the same moment for everyone on the planet. Find out what time the Solstice will occur for you here.
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Once the winter season hits, daylight hours already become shorter, and the sun time decreases even more the closer we get to the Winter Solstice. The word Solstice itself roughly translates to "sun stands still". Some cultures even refer to the dark day as the "extreme of winter." In fact, early civilizations feared the changing of the seasons and the lack of sunlight so much that they held varied solstice celebrations and rites to herald the return of the sun and hope for new life.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Winter Solstice has also brought new world discoveries; the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium and the Apollo 8 spacecraft launched becoming the first manned moon mission all on Dec. 21 (which is consequently the exact day the Solstice is happening this year.)
Whether you fear the dark days of Winter or welcome the 'rebirth' the Solstice brings, get set for Dec.21 and prepare to have a long night with the Winter Solstice 2018.