Google celebrates the winter solstice with new Doodle

Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year.

Image copyright ALAMY Image caption For the global north, the earth's tilt means that it gets maximum exposure to the sun in June and least in December Is the solstice at the same instant around the world? The solstice, the precise time at which the axis and the sun align, marks the halfway point of this period. Now, we get to celebrate the summer and winter solstices in the comfort of our own homes, thanks to Google, which simultaneously posted summer and winter solstice Google Doodles suitable to the appropriate hemisphere. It's a yearly astronomical turning point that humans have celebrated for millennia (just think Stonehenge or the ancient Maya).

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.

To explain the variation, EarthSky.org uses the example of NY and St. Augustine, Fla. The time and date of the solstice change slightly each year, but this year's solstice occurs at 11:28 a.m.

5 hours, 50 minutes: The difference in daylight hours between the winter and summer solstice.

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The most famous solstice celebration is associated with Stonehenge, a giant stone circle constructed in England around 2500 BC at a site that had been symbolically important for about 500 years before then.

THE WINTER Solstice is being livestreamed as it happens from Newgrange in Co Meath.

Astrologer Susan Miller told Newsweek that people should "take it easy" on December 21 and not make big decisions or begin long trips, which is unsettling news considering millions are starting their Christmas vacation today.

And in fact, the tradition of the Christmas tree may have its roots in such pre-Christian traditions associated with the solstice. However, it's never the day of the latest sunrise or earliest sunset.

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.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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