“The winter solstice has always been special to me
as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant
future beyond imagination, a time of pain and
withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable,
like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself
from the confines of its cocoon,
bursting forth into unexpected glory.”
Winter solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. The solstice occurs at the same instant everywhere on Earth. In the United States, it happens at 11:48 p.m. ET Monday (or 10:48 p.m. CT, 9:48 p.m. MT and 8:48 p.m. PT). In Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, that means the solstice actually arrives on Tuesday.
The solstice is the astronomical beginning of winter. The start of the coldest three months in the Northern Hemisphere, even though meteorologists view winter as starting the first of December. Winter’s shortest day is typically not the coldest day of the year. There’s a lag between the shortest day of the year and the coldest average temperatures for most spots in the USA.
So what causes the seasons? The Earth’s tilted axis. During the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, the land north of the equator is tilted away from the sun, which lowers the amount of the sun’s energy warming the Northern Hemisphere.
And why is the Earth tilted? Scientist’s say, the Earth’s tilt is the result of collisions with various small celestial objects and other massive objects during the formation of the solar system billions of years ago.
Just a bit unsettling to realize that the reason the Earth has the perfect temperature for life to form is a few random collisions with other space rocks billions of years ago. But thanks to these collisions, we can enjoy our winter solstice.