Snowy Google Doodle marks winter solstice

Why Winter Should Start December 1st

This occurs when Earth's North Poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun.

Soon after the winter solstice, the number of daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere will gradually grow longer each day until the summer solstice in late June, when the greatest amount of daylight hours occurs. On the other hand, the winter solstice also marks the longest day of in the Southern Hemisphere.

Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year, with Brits only getting 7 hours and 49 minutes of daylight before the evenings and mornings begin to lengthen once more.

Typically around Dec. 21 or 22 - though on rare occasions, it can be as early as Dec. 20 or as late as Dec. 23 - the sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5 degrees south latitude).

But that means it looks full Friday night and Saturday night.

The long December nights bring crystal clear skies to the Northern Hemisphere, allowing the Cold Moon to glow brightly in the night sky.

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The number of daylight hours peaks at summer solstice - in the United Kingdom, summer solstice sees 16 hours, 38 minutes and 19 seconds of daylight to be enjoyed. Because of this year's overlap, NASA's meteor expert Bill Cooke dubbed the meteor shower the "Cursed Ursids".

People around the world have celebrated this astronomical milestone for centuries.

This year's meteor viewing may be a bit more difficult with a full moon because light pollution from the moon makes it harder to see those meteors, but it sounds like the meteor shower should be active enough for a few to be visible.

In Ireland, people gather at Newgrange, a massive 5,000 years old gravesite, to witness the sunrise lighting up the ancient tomb.

At Stonehenge, people come together to celebrate and capture the moment when the sun directly aligns with the famous stones.

Winter Solstice in China is referred to as the Dongzhi Festival. It's really a case of "Sunny side down" for the Earth today!

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