The shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice, arrives Wednesday, Dec. 21. Days will soon be getting longer.
Does it depress you to go to work and come home in the dark? Well, it’s time to rejoice because the winter solstice is here.
The moment that marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year arrives Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 2:44 a.m. From then until June 21, the days will get longer.
The solstice is more pronounced in higher-latitude cities, such as Seattle and Anchorage, where the hours of daylight are noticeably shorter than in more southern regions. In Anchorage, the shortest day of the year meant 5 hours and 27 minutes of daylight last year. In Seattle, the shortest day is typically about 8 1/2 hours. By contrast, the shortest day in New York City is 9 1/4 hours and in Miami, it’s 10 1/2 hours.
The winter, or hibernal, solstice — which is actually only a single moment in time astronomically — is celebrated in various ways throughout the world but often includes an observation at sunrise or sunset.
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In Seattle, the sun will rise Wednesday at 7:55 a.m. and set at 4:21 p.m.
In astronomy, the winter solstice is the moment when the Earth is at a point in its orbit where one hemisphere is most inclined away from the sun. This causes the sun to appear at its farthest below the celestial equator when viewed from Earth. Solstice is from Latin and means “sun stand,” referring to the appearance that the sun’s noontime elevation change stops its progress, either northerly or southerly.
In Seattle, you can celebrate at the Feast of the Winter Solstice by registering to join the Fremont Arts Council.
For a quieter observance, people are invited to light candles at the Seattle Chinese Garden, which is open from dawn to dusk, at 6000 16th Ave. S.W.