Five things you should know about the shortest day of the year

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That is 5 hours and 32 minutes less daylight than Baltimore gets on the summer solstice, the "longest" day of the year. They experience their longest day and shortest night of the year. The 23.5-degree tilt of Earth's axis is responsible for the seasons.

Today's Winter Solstice 2017 Google doodle brings back the animated mouse that has made an appearance on Google's homepage for each of the equinox and now both solstice dates. Eastern Time on Thursday, Dec. 21.

Over on other side of the country, Los Angeles's winter solstice sunset will take place at 4:48 p.m. and will see nine hours and 55 minutes of daylight.

After December 21, the nights will begin to get shorter as our planet rotates towards the sun.

The Winter Solstice is being livestreamed from inside the Newgrange site in Co Meath.


What has the solstice meant to people through history?

The sun rises at about the same time in both places on Thursday - 7:16 a.m. and 7:17 a.m., respectively - but it sets almost an hour later in St. Augustine - 4:31 p.m. vs. 5:31 p.m.

Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day, December 25th, when we decorate our homes and communities with lights and stars to welcome the birth of the "true light of the world". Sunrise was at 8.03am GMT and sunset is at 3.53pm.

Noontime shadows on Thursday will be longest for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere because the sun doesn't rise as high in the sky.

The winter solstice, also known as Yule, Midwinter, marks the beginning of the astronomical winter, but it's not the coldest day of the year.

The prehistoric monument was built to align with the sun on this one morning every year, with the light hitting a special roofbox and illuminating the chamber.

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