2018 : Winter Solstice

December 21, 2021 all-day

Ready for the 2018 winter solstice? Unless you stare at your clock and pay very close attention to the position of the sun and the tilt of the Earth’s axis, you probably won’t even notice when the winter season officially starts.

If you’re not an astronomy expert, don’t fret. Winter in the northern hemisphere arrives shortly after 5:20 p.m. (New York City time) on Friday, Dec. 21, which will be the shortest day and longest night of the year, based on the hours, minutes and seconds of sunlight and darkness.

Here are a few things to know about the so-called winter solstice, also known as the December solstice.

The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of 2018. Pictured is a Christmas wreath at the end of a dock in Maine, shortly before another winter season began. (Pat Wellenbach | AP)