Happy Solstice: Astronomical Winter begins today

What Does The Winter Solstice Mean? An Explanation Of The Phenomenon & Its Cultural Impact Koichi Kamoshida  Getty Images News  Getty Images

Fáilte Ireland and the Office of Public Works have teamed up for the broadcast on the shortest day of the year.

The winter solstice, also known as Yule, Midwinter, marks the beginning of the astronomical winter, but it's not the coldest day of the year.

This is because the tilt of the Earth's axis is least aligned with the sun, providing us with the least daylight of the year.

Astrologer Susan Miller told Newsweek that people should "take it easy" on December 21 and not make big decisions or begin long trips, which is unsettling news considering millions are starting their Christmas vacation today.

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it's the day with the shortest amount of daylight - less than 12 hours - and our longest night of the year. Daylight lasted for just seven hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds, according to BBC. In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the sun take its lowest and shortest path across the southern sky, and at local noon, your shadow will be the longest of the year.

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The Southern Hemisphere refers to this event as the December Solstice because seasonally it signals the beginning of their summer. Eastern Time on Thursday, Dec. 21.

Dr O'Kelly is believed to have been the first human to witness the winter solstice from inside Newgrange in millennia.

"The winter solstice occurs at the moment the Earth's tilt away from the sun is at a maximum", Stephen Schneider told CBS News.

December 21 marks our winter solstice, but it's the summer solstice if you head beneath the equator. Sunrise was at 8.03am GMT and sunset is at 3.53pm. North of the Arctic Circle - at 66.5 degrees north latitude - the sun never rises, and darkness prevails as the Earth rotates on its axis.

"As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens".

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