Winter Solstice

Definition of Winter Solstice

The winter solstice is the day that marks the shortest period of sunlight and the longest period of nightfall for the northern hemisphere. It is also called ‘midwinter,’ and ‘longest day.’

This is when the Earth is tilted farthest away from the Sun in its orbit. This happens twice a year, and it is opposite for each hemisphere. From the Earth, this is when the Sun seems highest in the sky.

Midwinter is one of the four quarter days in many different traditions; the others being the spring equinox, the autumnal (or vernal) equinox and the summer solstice (also called midsummer).

In the southern hemisphere, these quarter days are opposite to each other, and the midwinter for the northern hemisphere is actually midsummer for the south.

TERM OF THE DAY

Ephemeris

An ephemeris is a map of the planets. Because the planets are in constant motion, that map is going to change constantly. Ephemerides come in either midnight or noon versions, and show you where the planets are (or were for a date in the past or will be for a date in the future) at either midnight or noon GMT.

Read the full Ephemeris definition