Winter solstice 2016 in Northern Hemisphere was at 5:44 AM on Wednesday, December 21.
The term solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, meaning ‘the Sun stands still’. This is because on this day, the Sun reaches its southern-most position as seen from the Earth. The Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction.
During winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth is actually closest to the Sun. Different seasons are not defined by how far the Earth is from the Sun. Seasons occur because Earth orbits the Sun on a slant, with an axial tilt of around 23.4 degrees. Therefore different amounts of sunlight reaches the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, causing variation in temperatures and weather patterns throughout the year.
For more information check out this informative video on the summer and winter solstice:
The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, a day falling around late June when there are approximately 17 hours of day light. But 2016 is a special year, because the solstice coincides with the Strawberry Moon, a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
What is the Strawberry Moon?
The Strawberry Moon is a full moon. Despite the name, the moon will not appear pink or red. The label was coined by the Algonquin tribes of North America who believed June’s full moon signaled the beginning of the strawberry picking season. The two events coincide once every 70 years.
The last strawberry moon occurred on the summer solstice on June 22, 1967. If you miss tonight’s moon you’ll have to wait another 46 years before you can see the full moon on the summer solstice with the rare event not happening again until June 21, 2062.
The Summer Solstice 2016
Today, Monday June 20th, the sun will rise at 4:45am and sunset will happen at 10:34pm. Marking it as the longest day of the year. After tonight the days begin to shorten in the northern hemisphere.