Happy winter: It's the shortest day of the year - by a lot!

Happy winter: It's the shortest day of the year - by a lot!

Happy winter: It's the shortest day of the year - by a lot!

For more than 4,000 years, Stonehenge has stood like a Neolithic sundial, marking the longest day of the year and the shortest - taking aim at the sun like a giant stone gunsight. The most well known is the celebration at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. Daylight lasted for just seven hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds, according to BBC. So today, on the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, the account starts up again. For a complete listing of the dates of the winter and summer solstices and the spring and fall equinoxes through 2025, check out this calendar from the U.S.

While the cold weather will remain going forward, you should start to notice the days will be longer after December 21.

"The winter solstice occurs at the moment the Earth's tilt away from the sun is at a maximum", Stephen Schneider told CBS News.

Interestingly, the Western winter solstice is also observed in Iran, where families gather on "Yalda night" to eat nuts, pomegranates and watermelons and read poetry together in honour of the longest night. The winter solstice, for you astronomical types.

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Astrologists say that today's winter solstice could be the worst day astrologically, as the sun passes over Capricorn, causing easy tasks to feel harder and annoyances to seem larger.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland before sunrise, he said: "The sun rises at around 8.58am and for a period of about 17 minutes the shafts of the solstice sun gradually lights up the back of the chamber of the 5000-year-old passage tomb".

"As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens". Not until the Northern Hemisphere sees a net gain in solar energy (more heat coming in than going out) do average temperatures begin their ascent. It seems to suggest a brief pause as the sun reaches its most extreme point (as experienced on Earth) before the direction of travel is reversed. That's definitely something to celebrate!

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