Start of winter, a full moon and a meteor shower

Cesar Mills
December 23, 2018

This is when when the sun appears to be at its southernmost point in the sky; as such, the Southern Hemisphere has its longest day of the year, and the Northern Hemisphere has its shortest day of the year, on the December solstice, according to EarthSky. This causes the sun to shine 24 hours a day north of the Arctic-a natural wonder known as the Midnight Sun, while most of the world is experiencing winter.

The equinoxes, both spring and fall, mark when the sun's rays are directly over the equator, where we have equal length of day and night.

The winter solstice occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted the furthermost from the sun, decreasing the amount of energy that reaches Earth.

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

Thousands of people gather at Stonehenge in England to watch the sunrise on the winter solstice.

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CHINA: The Winter solstice marks the end of the harvest season and is celebrated with family gatherings and a big meal, including rice balls called tang yuan.

Today is the shortest day of the year, also known as the winter solstice.

If you're wondering how special this Cold Moon is so close to the solstice, it will be 2029 before it happens again. Tonight-and indeed tomorrow night-the moon will appear particularly round and full in the night sky near the constellation Orion.

After she is full on the 22nd, the waning moon will diminish on her way to the last quarter moon of the year, which will occur on December 29 at 4:34 am EST.

The Ursid meteor shower is expected to take place on Friday and Saturday nights. One can usually see between 10 and 100 shooting stars per hour during this event.

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