Today is the winter solstice, but it has been winter for a while already

Today is the winter solstice—the shortest day of the year—but by some definitions, it has been winter for a few weeks already.

The meteorological definition of winter is that it is the coldest three months in temperate zones, that is, December, January, and February in the Northern Hemisphere. Alternately, it could be defined as starting when the winter pattern of cold fronts and warm fronts begins. By this definition, the starting date of winter could vary depending on when winter-like weather actually begins in a certain year.

The astronomy picture of the day for today is a multiple exposure shot showing the path the sun takes across the sky on the day of the winter solstice. The day is shorter and the weather is colder because the sun rises in the southeast, takes a low arc across the sky, and sets in the southwest. On a winter day, the sun is not up for very long, and it never gets very high in the sky. On the contrary, in the summer the sun rises early in the northeast, takes a high path across the southern sky, and sets in the northwest later in the evening.


Grace and Peace

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