Winter Solstice: Thursday

Associated Press
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Associated Press

Winter is almost here.

The shortest day of the year, the winter solstice is Thursday, December 22. It will occur tonight at 12:30 a.m.

The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter and comes as the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Tomorrow the sun will rise at around 7:16 a.m. in New York and set at around 4:32 p.m., making the day around 9 hours and 15 minutes. Starting Thursday, the sun begins rising slightly earlier each morning and setting a minute or two later each night.

The winter solstice also brings the longest night. It’s the reversal of the gradual lengthening of the nights and shortening of days. And for some, they will be left in complete darkness for 24 hours. According to ABC, everything north of the Arctic Circle will experience 24 hours of darkness.

So what exactly is the winter solstice? It occurs when Earth’s axis tilts farthest away from the sun.

Each year, the winter solstice usually occurs on December 21 to 23. Next year, the winter solstice will take place on a date dubbed doomsday.

December 21, 2012 has long been associated with doomsday thanks to the Mayan Long Count calendar. The Mayan Long Count calendar ends December 21, 2012, which many doomsayers have interpreted as the day the world ends.

Others agree that it’s an misinterpretation, and that it won’t be the end of the world much like it wasn’t when Harold Camping’s calculated doomsday to be this past May and then again in October.