The Winter Solstice

10.44GMT on Wednesday 21st December marks the Winter Solstice for 2016.

Forgetting the science for the moment, this means that this is the shortest day of the year. We will have 7 hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds of daylight in Great Britain.

Here comes the science.

The winter solstice happens every year when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted furthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year.

Usually, the solstice falls on the 21st, but the time can vary each year, due to the slight discrepancy between the time that we use and the solar time – a variation which is rectified every four years, when a leap year occurs and we get an extra day on the calendar. This is the reason Winter solstice in 2015 took place on 22 December. Solstice officially happens when the sun is precisely over the Tropic of Capricorn – the latitude stretching across the southern hemisphere.

The good news is that from Thursday 22 December, the days will get longer.
The bad news is that it will be a month or so, before we can see any benefit.

But something good to look forward to after Christmas!

And the weather for the Winter Solstice –

will be the warm(ish) weather we’ve been experiencing and it should continue with temperatures around 9C (48F). However, later in the week, the blizzard conditions in New York may reach us, depending on whether the jet stream passes north or south of us. If the latter there is just a chance that it could look as lovely as the Christmas cards!