Astronomical Winter Arrives Today at 10:28 AM CST with the Winter Solstice and the Harp Twins

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The Winter Solstice is associated the shortest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and occurs this year at 10:28 a.m. CST.

Due to the tilt of the earth’s axis and the position of the earth in orbit, the northern hemisphere is tilted further from the sun, and the southern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun.

The sun shines directly on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere, which is the southernmost position of the sun south of the equator during the year. The Tropic of Capricorn is about 23°26′ South. Anyone at the Tropic of Capricorn sees the sun directly 90° overhead today.

There are only four countries south of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Ironic facts about the Winter Solstice …

The Winter Solstice is not the day of the earliest sunset. The earliest sunset in Chicago in 2017 occurred from December 3 through December 13 due to the difference in true solar time (using a sundial) and 24 hour clock time based on Mean Solar Time.

The earth is not the furthest from the sun on the Winter Solstice. The sun is actually closest to the sun (Perihelion) during the northern hemisphere Winter.

Because of heat lag caused caused by the presence on earth of large amounts of water, which has a high latent heat of freezing and of condensation. The coldest average temperatures in Chicago occur January 17-20.

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