Crowds gather at Newgrange for winter solstice

9 Winter Solstice Superstitions & What They Mean That Will Prepare You For Dec. 21 Hugh Pinney  Getty Images News  Getty Images

Winter officially starts Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 11:28 AM. This tilt will slowly pivot with the earth as it orbits the sun, which takes a year.

The winter solstice will officially begin at 11:27 NY this year. The 21st is the shortest day of the year with only 9 hours, 12 minutes and 52 seconds of daylight. It means the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The Northern Hemisphere receives its least direct sunlight on the winter solstice, but in many places the coldest average temperatures of winter aren't until January. Conversely, people living in the Southern Hemisphere will experience its summer solstice at the same time. "The effect of this in the Arctic (within 23.5 degrees of the North Pole) is completely in darkness as Earth spins that day".

The word "solstice" is Latin for "sun standing still". That doesn't really matter, so long as you're at an latitude with long summer days and short winter days.

Every year in December visitors from around the world flock to Stonehenge to mark the winter solstice.

Ryanair set to meet with union for the first time ever today
Ryanair has narrowly avoided disruption to its services after its pilots called off a pre-Christmas strike. Today marks the first-ever meeting with a union since the airline was founded over three decades ago.

Of course, our long winter night pales in comparison with Alaska, where the sun barely climbs above the horizon for three to four hours in much of the Last Frontier.

Is the winter solstice the coldest day of the year? The further north you are, the less sunlight you'll get.

"It's an ad hoc celebration that brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans, Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travelers and party people - 100's of them!" Let us know how you'll celebrate sailing next June and share the anticipation for Summer Sailstice 2018 with sailors across the globe. Sunrise was at 8.03am GMT and sunset is at 3.53pm.

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