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Happy winter: It's the shortest day of the year - by a lot!

24 December 2017, 12:45 | Ivan Casey

NATION-NOW Dec. 21 will be the worst day of 2017 astrologers say Astrologers Dec. 21 will be worst day of 2017

NATION-NOW     Dec. 21 will be the worst day of 2017 astrologers say     
       Astrologers Dec. 21 will be worst day of 2017

It's the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the sun has officially reached its southernmost point as seen from Earth.

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.

Druids still gather at Stonehenge in the West Country to mark the occasion to this day, pagan revellers meeting at dawn to observe the morning sun rising over the ancient circle's Heel Stone. That's the home of the account's creator, web developer and npm CTO Laurie Voss.

Keep in mind that, just because this is the shortest day of the year, doesn't mean the sunrise and sunset are at their latest and earliest times.

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"We're actually closer to the sun this time of year (also a surprise to many people) and moving faster in our orbit, so the Earth has to turn a little extra to face the sun each day compared to other times of year", Schneider says.

5 hours, 50 minutes: The difference in daylight hours between the winter and summer solstice.

While the cold weather will remain going forward, you should start to notice the days will be longer after December 21. The winter solstice, for you astronomical types.

THE WINTER Solstice is being livestreamed as it happens from Newgrange in Co Meath. This year, that moment will occur at 16:28 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

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Stonehenge, a monument outside of London, hosts one of the world's largest winter solstice celebrations, according to National Geographic.

After December 21, the nights will begin to get shorter as our planet rotates towards the sun. Even the Christmas tree might have roots celebrating the solar event.

Noontime shadows on Thursday will be longest for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere because the sun doesn't rise as high in the sky.

Winter solstice has been celebrated for hundreds of years in Britain, pre-dating Christianity.

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