Winter trifecta: Solstice, full moon, meteor shower on Friday, Saturday

Google Marks Winter Solstice Shortest Day Of The Year With A Doodle

From here, the number of minutes of daylight will slowly increase as we head toward the the spring equinox. The day is also known as the mid-winter day which has the longest night of the year.

The actual moment of the solstice will occur at 10.23pm in the UK.

Shown above is the orientation of the Earth relative to the sun's most direct rays around the time of the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice.

Tech giant Google celebrates first day of winter - winter solstice with a doodle.

In astrological terms, the December solstice marks the end of autumn in the northern hemisphere and the start of winter-which will last until March 20, 2019.

The reason behind this phenomenon is that the Earth is tilted on its axis by 23.5° relative to the plane of the planet's orbit.

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In the southern hemisphere it's exactly the opposite story - the South Pole is pointing towards the Sun, making it summertime "down-under". Other names for this day include Yule, Midwinter and The Longest Night.

So what's going on with this full moon?

Again, for those of you who love precision, it will occur on Saturday, December 22, at 17:49 Universal Time (that's 12:49 p.m. ET), EarthSky says. Few things are as magical as the heavens full of shooting stars, and December gives us that gift in the form of the Ursid meteor shower. The December full moon is called the "cold moon". In the Northern Hemisphere happens the December solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere happens the June solstice. So it's not a once-in-a-lifetime event, but still, you don't see this too often.

When viewing a meteor shower, It's important to lie flat and look straight up - taking in as much of the sky as possible, according to NASA.

The website In the Sky has a great feature that helps you figure out where to watch and how many meteors you might see. At the peak there should be about 11 sporadic meteors per hour just before dawn.

The moon will still appear beautifully full enough on the solstice, even it's not as rare as if it were officially full.


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