Winter officially began yesterday with the winter solstice at 11:19 p.m.
With the least amount of sunlight, it’s the shortest day of the year and the longest night.
Yesterday and today will have less than nine and half hours of daylight.
This year’s winter solstice began with a celestial event of shooting stars that will last until dawn Monday. The dazzling display will come the annual Ursids meteor shower says Lauren Steussy New York Post features editor, and will peak this evening and last into the dawn of Monday. Astronomers this year, she adds, say this year’s meteor shower is going to be particularly active, with a rate potentially two to three times more than usual — up to 30 to 45 meteors per hour.
The word solstice is derived from the Latin word solstitium, which comes from sol, or “sun,” and sister, meaning “to stand still.”
Providing more information about the winter solstice, The Old Farmer’s Almanac says, “In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the sun rises and sets advance southward each day. The high point in the sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day.
“At the winter solstice, the sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The sun is directly overhead at ‘high-noon’ on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.”
Astronomical seasons are based on the position of Earth in relation to the sun, says the Almanac, while meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle and climatological patterns observed on Earth.
The astronomical start of spring — and these dates and times come from the Almanac — and the official end of winter in the Northern Hemisphere begins with the vernal equinox, meaning equal, when the sun is exactly above the celestial equator going north and the days and night are of equal length. This will occur in 2020 at 11:50 p.m. EDT, Thursday, March 19. The meteorological start — which begins on the first day of a particular month and lasts for three months will occur earlier, on Sunday, March 1.
Summer officially begins with the astronomical summer solstice at 5:44 p.m. EDT Saturday, June 20, when the sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Cancer, and it’s the longest day of the year and the shortest night in the Northern Hemisphere. The meteorological start of summer, says the Almanac, will have begun earlier, on Monday, June 1.
While the meteorological start of autumn will occur Tuesday, Sept. 1, the astronomical autumnal equinox, when the days and nights are again of equal length, will happen at 9:31 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 22.
And the meteorological start of winter in 2020 will occur with the winter solstice Tuesday, Dec. 1, while the astronomical start of winter won’t happen until 5:02 a.m. EST Monday, Dec. 21.