Winter solstice 2017: It's the shortest day of the year

Chris J Ratcliffe  Getty Images News  Getty Images

Chris J Ratcliffe Getty Images News Getty Images

The winter solstice arrives Thursday, making it the "shortest" day of the year. The winter solstice happens because the Earth is tilted which causes our seasons.

In Boone the sun will rise at 7:34 a.m. EST and set at 5:15 p.m. EST for a day's length of 9 hours and 41 minutes and 40 seconds.

The solstice occurs at 11:28 a.m., the moment the North Pole is tilted the farthest from the sun and the South Pole tilted most toward it.

Let's clear the record: The winter solstice marks the shortest daylight period in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Isles of Shetland and Orkney were treated to the stark contrast of a midday sun barely limping over the horizon before retreating back down to call it a day.

Earth has a tilt of about 23.5 degrees and as it moves around the Sun, the Northern and Southern hemispheres face opposite directions. But that's nearly a minute longer than the shortest solar day, which occurs in mid-September around the time of the equinox.

Because the exact timespan of a day has fluctuated over the years, the longest night we've ever seen was the 1912 winter solstice.

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What does the sun do on the winter solstice? The winter solstice, for you astronomical types.

EarthSky said: "You might notice how low the sun appears in the sky at local noon".

Fáilte Ireland and the Office of Public Works have teamed up for the broadcast on the shortest day of the year.

"The coldest time usually comes a month or two later because even though the amount of solar heating is beginning to increase, it isn't yet enough to reverse the cooling", Schneider says. The further north you are, the less sunlight you'll get.

Every year, people flock to the ancient monument in Wiltshire, England, to watch the sunrise during the winter solstice, when the structure is directly aligned toward the sun. In other words, the energy being released from the oceans keeps us warmer a little longer.

It was traditionally celebrated by Celtic priests, known as Druids, and each year thousands gather at sacred site Stonehenge to mark the pagan celebration.

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