Winter solstice: Met Office explains what happens
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There are two solstices which take place each year: the summer solstice and the winter solstice. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year, and in the UK this takes place in June.
The winter solstice, contrastingly, marks the shortest day of the year and most often takes place in December.
The June or summer solstice is the moment the Sun sits directly above the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere.
This is the northernmost latitude it reaches during the year, after which, it begins moving south again.
Though it is often celebrated as being central to summer, from this time, the days begin to grow shorter once again until they reach the winter solstice.
The December or winter solstice marks the 24-hour period which has the fewest daylight hours of the year.
At the December solstice, Earth is positioned so the sun stays below the North Pole’s horizon.
When is the shortest day in 2022?
This year, the December or winter solstice will take place on Wednesday, December 21, 2022.
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The actual moment of the solstice in 2022 will occur at 9.48pm GMT in the UK, but most people concentrate on the whole solstice day.
Often, the day is recognised by holidays and festivals in many global cultures.
On this day, in London, it is estimated there will be just seven hours, 49 minutes and 42 seconds of sunlight.
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According to RMG: “This means that the length of day during the winter solstice is eight hours, 49 minutes shorter than the summer solstice.”
After the winter solstice, the days begin to get longer again and the nights shorter.
At both the spring and autumn equinoxes, the day and night hours are roughly the same length lasting an average of 12 hours.
The number of daylight hours then reaches its peak once again when the summer solstice arrives.
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