Winter solstice 2023, everything you need to know


Analema can resemble a flattened figure eight and represents the change in the position of the Sun over the course of the year. The sun reaches its minimum height on the celestial equator and thus the lowest point of the figure, precisely at winter solstice between December 20 and 22. On that day, the number of light hours will be the smallest of the whole year, because the arc that the Sun draws in the sky is the smallest ever. The opposite point instead falls in between June 20 and 22: Summer solstice, greatest arc, maximum hours of light, and height above the equator. When the Sun passes through the intersection of the celestial equator and the ecliptic, it is called equinoxes (spring or autumn). In the analemma, these descend a little below the crossing of the two lobes.

Winter solstice

So here is the start of the season it is not a mere calendar conventionbut a astronomical event well defined. If the Sun spends more or less hours in the sky, it means that it transfers more or less energy towards the Earth’s surface, and this is what actually determines the temperature fluctuations in different seasons. It is often said to be the solstice one dayin fact, as mentioned, it is a specific moment which in 2023 it falls on December 22 at 4:27 AM. After all, the calendar is a convention that tries to rigidly pigeonhole the Earth’s movements, which are anything but simple and regular: for this reason, the exact moments of the solstices and equinoxes change every year. The winter one can fall on December 20, 21 or 22. A little note: in the two hemispheres of the Earth, everything happens in a mirror, and while we celebrate the winter solstice, in the southern hemisphere it is exactly the opposite and the solstice is summer. If the Sun spends a few hours above our sky, it will have to be somewhere the rest of the time.


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