Start of winter, a full moon and a meteor shower

Gwen Vasquez
December 21, 2018

The winter solstice is in full stride today, December 21, which boasts the fewest hours of daylight for 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere.

The December Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination, that's when the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the Sun.

In the south, it's just the reverse though.

This is when when the sun appears to be at its southernmost point in the sky; as such, the Southern Hemisphere has its longest day of the year, and the Northern Hemisphere has its shortest day of the year, on the December solstice, according to EarthSky.

But in the United Kingdom (and rest of the northern hemisphere) it means the sun rising earlier and setting later as we journey again towards the spring equinox.

As mentioned above, this Winter solstice 2018 is even more special as less than the day after the solstice, we will be able to see the last Full Moon of the year. This is a minor meteor shower, so people should only expect to see a few shooting stars per hour. The best viewing with most meteor showers happens in the hours prior to sunrise (midnight to 5 a.m.) and under a dark sky.

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The Ursids meteor shower will be visible tonight.

The occasion is a cause for celebration in some regions around the world.

Fremont Art Council is holding a winter solstice feast, complete with decorations and costumes.

After the winter solstice, the days will begin to get longer in the Northern Hemisphere.

At Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, large crowds gather to celebrate and capture the moment when the sun directly aligns with the famous stones. The treat is said to bring prosperity and unity. It's really a case of "Sunny side down" for the Earth today!

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