Friday, December 21, 2012

Shortest Day: Why Winter Starts Friday

 
The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year, when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere.

In the very likely event that we survive Friday's rumored Mayan apocalypse, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere will at least get to experience another cosmic occasion: the winter solstice.

On Friday, Dec. 21, the sun will appear to make its lowest, quickest trek across the sky all year, resulting in the shortest day of 2012 and the official start of winter.

Earth is tilted on its axis 23.5 degrees, so it leans one way as it spins around its axis while orbiting the sun. On Dec. 21, the top half of the planet (everything north of the equator) will face away from the sun, leaving the North Pole in complete darkness. 



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