Published: Sun, December 23, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Today is the winter solstice - the shortest day of the year

Today is the winter solstice - the shortest day of the year

While we in Chewelah are seeing the shortest days of the year, those in the southern hemisphere are seeing the longest.

Today, December 21, 2018, is winter solstice in North America (Mexico is part of North America of course), officially the shortest day of the year.

This year's Winter Solstice will coincide with a Full Cold Moon - the full moon of December, according to The Sun seems to stand still in the winter sky, marking the shortest day and longest night of the year.

Typically around Dec. 21 or 22 - though on rare occasions, it can be as early as Dec. 20 or as late as Dec. 23 - the sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5 degrees south latitude). It is the first time since 2010 that the solstice and a full moon will be fewer than 24 hours apart. That's the Doodle on search engine Google's page on Winter Solstice day.

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This is the day when Sun appears at its most southern position.

While the change won't be noticeable on a day-to-day basis, the winter solstice brings the promise that soon, you may see the light before and after work instead of living in perpetual darkness. Illumination of 98 percent or more appears as a full moon.

After she is full on the 22nd, the waning moon will diminish on her way to the last quarter moon of the year, which will occur on December 29 at 4:34 am EST.

In Maine, much smaller winter solstice celebrations take place around the state, such as Harpswell Heritage Land Trust's Winter Solstice Lantern Walk, the Maine Audubon Winter Solstice Celebration with Spirit Passages at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, and the Belfast Unitarian Universalist Church Winter Solstice event. At the peak there should be about 11 sporadic meteors per hour just before dawn.

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