Why is the Winter Solstice the shortest day of the year?
HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!! (Please let me apologize for you grammar nuts... I am at a loss for where to capitalize directions and nouns and the like for this post. I try to be good... just kidding... I try to do well, but I wasn't interested in looking up a grammar lesson. My nephew is here and I LOVE HIM SO MUCH that I'm struggling to find the time just to get my Daily Doodle finished every day! Ok, back to the post.)
My favorite part about Winter Solstice is the days start getting longer. Meaning there is more sunlight to be had. If you know me at all, you know I'm not a fan of the cold... or the dark, so I'm not much of a winter person, to put it kindly.
So why is the Winter Solstice the shortest day of the year? Good question. Thank goodness I had my science-loving, teacher sister here to help walk me through what I was reading! Let me see if I can break this down.
Ok, so the Earth is tilted 23.5º on it's axis. Which means North and South aren't "straight up and down" in relation to the sun, they're actually tilted 23.5º. So in the Northern Hemisphere in the WINTER (December), North it's tilted 23.5º AWAY from the sun (which means the Southern Hemisphere is tilted 23.5º TOWARDS the sun). This means the North pole gets NO SUNLIGHT on December 21st of this year! In fact, anything above the Arctic Circle doesn't get sunlight for several days... like 67 days! (Going back to my Nephew... I was going to just paint the page black and note, "this is what Barrow, Alaska looked like today" so I could spend less time painting and more time playing peek-a-boo)
The Winter Solstice occurs in December in the Northern Hemisphere, when the sun is 23.5º south of the equator, which is along the Tropic of Capricorn. In the Southern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice occurs in June, when the sun is 23.5º north of the equator, which is the Tropic of Cancer.
So, December 21st of this year is only the Northern Hemisphere's winter. In the Southern Hemisphere they're celebrating the Summer Solstice like warm happy birds! In my ideal world I would follow the sun. I would go further North getting closer to June and further South as I was getting closer to December. That way I'd be warm and have loads of daylight to enjoy!
I hope I made some sense. It took a while with my sister rotating a tennis ball around a light for me to fully grasp the topic... maybe I should have videoed that instead of just leaving you with a doodle! But, alas, that's not what this blog post is about.