While winter for most people starts around the first of December, some people don't believe winter starts until Christmas is almost here. Actually, those who believe winter starts around Christmas are technically correct. The winter solstice is considered the beginning of winter itself. Here are some more facts about the winter solstice.
Winter and Summer
While the Northern Hemisphere sees winter in December, the Southern Hemisphere is enjoying its summer solstice at the same time. Everywhere that it's winter, there's another part of the world celebrating summer.
Shortest Day and Longest Night
If you feel like winter is the longest part of the year, you're partly right. The winter solstice is the longest night of the year, but it has the shortest day. It has the least amount of daylight, which could be part of why it feels so long aside from the blistering cold.
The winter solstice isn't the entire month of December. It's actually only one moment in time. When the sun's rays hit the Tropic of Capricorn, it's the winter solstice, but that only happens for a moment before it moves. The exact same thing happens with the summer solstice except the sun shines on the Tropic of Cancer.
Not Always the Same Day
The solstice doesn't always fall on the same day each year. On some years, it's December 20, and other years, it's on December 22 or 23. It commonly falls on December 21 or 22.
Not Far from the Sun
When the Northern Hemisphere experiences winter, it's not because the Earth is further from the sun. That happens when the Earth in the summer. The distance from the sun has nothing to do with the hot or cold seasons. It's the tilt of the Earth's axis that impacts the weather.
Daylight Increases in the North
Traveling up into the northern most points of the Earth, there is more daylight appearing faster than other places like the equator. The amount of daylight doesn't vary as much near the equator like it does in the north.
First Day of Winter
While astronomy calls the winter solstice the first day of winter, for those living in the wintery parts of the world in December, winter starts on December 1.
After the winter solstice in December, it'll be 6 months before the rays of the sun announce another solstice in June. That solstice heralds the beginning of summer. It's also the longest day of the year. The beginning of winter and the beginning of summer might be official due to the solstice, but they are not an indication of what the weather will hold for the Northern or Southern Hemispheres.