The position of the sun changes. On December 21st, the sun sets again around eight hours after sunrise.
December 21st is the winter solstice: This is the shortest day of the year, it gets light just eight hours a day. After that, however, the days get longer again. Find out more below.
Winter solstice means change
The sun rises at 8.09 a.m. on Tuesday, December 21 in Nuremberg. At 4:17 p.m. it gets dark again. So there is no daylight for almost 16 hours.
The solstice takes place twice a year and marks the highest and lowest position of the sun at noon – and thus also the shortest and longest sunny day. At the summer solstice on June 21, 2021, we had a good 16 hours of daylight and only around eight hours of darkness.
Does winter begin with the winter solstice?
The day of the winter solstice marks the astronomical beginning of winter. For meteorologists , winter starts earlier, on December 1st. There is also the so-called phenological beginning of winter . It is about the developmental stages of plants, so the date depends on observations of nature. The phenological winter begins when the English oak loses its leaves.
Does the sun rise earlier again after the winter solstice?
You might think that the sunrise actually shifts a few minutes back until the beginning of January – it gets light a little later in the morning. Nevertheless, the days are getting longer again because the sun sets later and more than compensates for the shifted sunrise.
The fact that the days are getting longer again only really becomes noticeable in January. Then each day will be two to three minutes longer. That sounds like little, but in the course of January it adds up to a good hour more daylight.
Why is December 21, 2021 the shortest day of the year?
This is related to the inclination of the earth’s axis. On December 21st, the Earth will be positioned so that the South Pole is closest to the Sun and the North Pole is furthest away from it. The southern hemisphere experiences a summer solstice with long days and hot temperatures, the north the winter solstice.
Is the winter solstice always on December 21st?
No. Often it takes place on December 21st, but it can also be postponed to December 22nd and in rare cases to December 20th. This is because our calendar system does not exactly map the course of the earth around the sun. Leap years and leap seconds compensate for the fact that the earth does not need exactly 365 days for one orbit. In 2019 the sun reached its lowest point on December 22nd, in 2084 the winter solstice will fall on December 20th.