Today is the first day of winter & the shortest day of the year. When the clock hits 5:44 a.m. on Wednesday,
the 2016 winter solstice will be here, marking the official start of the winter season. Daylight today will be around
for exactly nine hours, 15 minutes and six seconds in northern New Jersey, according to TimeAndDate.com.
The good news: Each day after that will grow slightly longer, which means the nights will get progressively shorter.
Winter solstice facts
•The 2016 winter solstice officially arrives at 5:44 a.m. Eastern time on Dec. 21.
•The winter solstice is an astronomical event, when the Earth tilts to a position where the northern
hemisphere is furthest away from the sun, causing less light to reach that region.
•For people in the northern hemisphere, Dec. 21 will be the shortest day and longest night of the year.
(In Newark, there will be exactly 9 hours, 15 minutes and 6 seconds of daylight, with the sun rising at 7:18 a.m.
and setting at 4:33 p.m. Further south, in Atlantic City, the sun will rise at 7:14 a.m. and set at 4:38 p.m., so the
length of daylight will be 9 hours, 23 minutes and 33 seconds.)
•For people in the southern hemisphere, Dec. 21 will be the longest day and shortest night of the year, the exact
opposite of what's occurring in the northern hemisphere. (Wednesday is the summer solstice for the southern hemisphere.)
•Each year, as the Daily Telegraph of London reminds us, the winter solstice is marked by cultural festivals and pagan celebrations,
most famously at the historic Stonehenge monument in England. Some Australians commemorate their winter solstice (in June) by
taking a nude dip into the Derwent River, which tends to be frigid at that time of the year.