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A hard day's night

All about the 2022 winter solstice

Dec. 21 is the 2022 winter solstice, marking the day with the least amount of daylight of the year for the northern hemisphere and the most amount of daylight for the southern hemisphere. The exact time of the solstice is 4:48 pm ET, which is the time of sunset in the northern hemisphere. The solstice occurs when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn, its most southern point of the year, CNN explains. The further north you live, the less daylight you will have.

The Earth experiences winter and summer solstices because the planet's orbit around the sun occurs at a tilt of approximately 23.5 degrees. In turn, the winter solstice occurs when the South Pole is tilted towards the sun, giving the southern hemisphere more daylight and the northern hemisphere less, Space.com explains. The opposite is true for the summer solstice. 

The winter solstice is also the day for a number of traditions around the world. A number of places have midwinter festivals that take place on the solstice. Our ancestors also recognized the solstice with some fearing that the sun would disappear, reports The Wall Street Journal. Humans' understanding of the solstices was seen even thousands of years ago, like in the construction of Stonehenge, the structure of which aligns with both solstices. 

Many cultures also believe the solstice to be spiritually significant with many holidays and celebrations occurring around the time, writes the Los Angeles Times. According to Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. "It gives people a signal about the cosmic order that surrounds them and seems to govern their lives, and also gives them an opportunity to anticipate what is coming next."