People gather at Newgrange to celebrate winter solstice


Image Credit CFJC Today  Kent Simmonds

6:00am Image Credit CFJC Today Kent Simmonds

Soon after the winter solstice, the number of daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere will gradually grow longer each day until the summer solstice in late June, when the greatest amount of daylight hours occurs.

A snowy Google Doodle on Friday marked the 2018 winter solstice, the shortest day of the year when the Earth is farthest from the Sun. That's when the northern hemisphere is at its maximum tilt away from the sun.

In the south, it's just the reverse though.

Friday also marks the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere when it will pass through its longest night of the year.

Today, that means the Southern Hemisphere is pointing toward the sun and catching more rays.

That's because the final full moon of the year-known as the Cold Moon, or Full Cold Moon-comes on Saturday, technically at 12:49pm. The full moon will happen December 22 around 12:49 p.m.

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The long December nights bring crystal clear skies to the Northern Hemisphere, allowing the Cold Moon to glow brightly in the night sky.

People around the world have celebrated this astronomical milestone for centuries.

And in Ireland, people gather days before the solstice at Newgrange - a massive gravesite that's more than 5,000 years old.

At the Stonehenge in United Kingdom, people come together to capture the moment when the sun aligns with the rocks at sunrise and sunset.

Fremont Art Council is holding a winter solstice feast, complete with decorations and costumes. It's really a case of "Sunny side down" for the Earth today!

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