Celebrate the winter solstice - and why it’s a day later this year

While many have been waking to stunning sunrises this week, such as this one at Lundin Links, Fife, on Monday, it is always a few weeks after the winter solstice before the mornings start to get brighter. (Picture: Alison Hutchison/Facebook.)

While many have been waking to stunning sunrises this week, such as this one at Lundin Links, Fife, on Monday, it is always a few weeks after the winter solstice before the mornings start to get brighter. (Picture: Alison Hutchison/Facebook.)

0
Have your say

It’s always a relief when we welcome in the shortest day of the year and start to look forward to the days getting longer and brighter.

But while the shortest day of the year - the winter solstice - would usually be today (December 21), this year it falls on December 22.

This will be when the sun’s daily maximum height in the sky is at its lowest, and the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun.

The solstice coming a day later this year is for the same reason we have leap years - the Earth’s orbit takes 365.5 days, so each year the solstice is pushed back by another six hours.

While December 22 will be the shortest day, mornings will continue to get darker after solstice as the days begin to align.

Evenings actually draw in towards their earliest sunset a couple of weeks before the shortest day but mornings continue to get darker until a couple of weeks after.

While this December has been unseasonably warm - with reports of daffodils already making an appearance - many people see the winter solstice as a sign that spring is just around the corner.

However, don’t be in any hurry to pack away the thermls - January and February are often the UK’s coldest months, so it’s likely we still chilly days ahead.