This upcoming solstice will mark the beginning of winter.
The December 2022 solstice is about to make its triumphal entry and will mark the change of astronomical seasons; while the northern hemisphere will see the entry of winter, the northern hemisphere will see the rebirth of summer.
What is the 2022 Winter Solstice?
Solstices are astronomical phenomena that derive from two main factors: the rotation of the Earth and the angle of inclination of the Earth. It is thanks to this that there are times of the year when the Sun is directly over the equator, which we know as equinoxes, but there will also be other times when it will hit the southernmost (south) or northernmost (north) region, which we call solstices.
During the solstice in December 2022, the Earth tilts backward from the solar perspective and causes less of the star’s rays to reach the north and more to reach the south. The most immediate consequence is the change of seasons, while in the north winter is favored, in the south summer arrives. In addition, thanks to the position of the Earth and the interaction with sunlight, on the day of the December solstice we have the longest night in the north and the longest day in the south.
When is the 2022 Winter Solstice Happening?
The astronomical calendar marks the entrance of the December 2022 solstice, exactly on Wednesday the 21st of the month at 21:48 UTC. It will be at this time when the astronomical change of season will take place in the Earth’s hemispheres. The northern hemisphere will receive winter and will have the longest night of the year, while the southern hemisphere will receive summer and will see the sun shining longer on the ecliptic.
The Earth’s South Pole will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position from our celestial perspective and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude.
As of this date, all regions below the equator in the southern hemisphere will have days of more than 12 hours of daylight. Meanwhile, all latitudes above the equator will experience days shorter than 12 hours and will see longer periods of darkness during the night.
Signs to Perceive the Winter Solstice 2022
As circadian beings, the biggest indication of the changes between solstices and equinoxes is undoubtedly the amount of light we perceive during the day. Solar energy is the most powerful source of life on the planet and therefore, any variation in it will be reflected in the biological processes of terrestrial beings.
Less light is synonymous with less energy, which we see reflected in the hibernating animals that prepare to rest until the heat returns with spring. The opposite happens with summer, whose apogee of heat and light can be seen in the great fertility of crops that take advantage of the energy of photosynthesis.
Another sign of the December 2022 solstice that you can corroborate yourself, is to observe its shadow at sunset, if you are in the north you will see the longest shadow of the whole year projected on the ground. Contrary to the south, where the sun is placed at the highest point of the ecliptic at the zenith. You can try to monitor the shadows throughout the year and see how the angle of sunlight is the intrinsic consequence of the Earth’s movements in the Solar System.
Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera