Snowman - winter

First Day of Winter Starts Now

Winter is upon us

Today marks the official first day of winter, also known as the winter solstice.  On December 21st each year, the points on the horizon where the sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day.  So for us non-scientist, what does this mean?

The Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position.  The days are the shortest of the year and temperatures are at their lowest. 

“As the Earth moves around the sun, each hemisphere experiences winter when it is tilted away from the sun and summer when it is tilted toward the sun,” CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said. “Scientists are not entirely sure how this occurred, but they think that billions of years ago, as the solar system was taking shape, the earth was subject to violent collisions that caused the axis to tilt.”

Thanks to the Earth’s tilt, we experience the four seasons.  Except of course in the south.  On a “winter” day in January in Florida; temperatures can average as high as 76 while in the northern states they experience below freezing temperatures.  This is the time of year the Best Corporate Events staff appreciates that our corporate office is in Florida although we are executing team building events across the country year round. 

Fun facts:

  • The solstice occurs at the same moment everywhere on Earth, but it is observed at 24 different times of day because of the world’s 24 time zones, according to National Geographic.
  • The Apollo 8 spacecraft launched on December 21, 1968, becoming the first manned moon mission.
  • Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth on December 21, 1620.  
  • The word solstice derived from the Latin sol, meaning “sun” and sister meaning “to make a standstill”.