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  • Namana Nagaraj

Unraveling the Science Behind the Shortest Day

As winter's chill settles over India and prepares for the celestial spectacle of the winter solstice on December 22. On this day, the sun will rise at 7:09 am and sets at 5:29 pm, casting long shadows and marking the shortest day of the year with a mere 10 hours, 19 minutes, and 17 seconds of daylight.


In the Shadows of Solstice

If you've noticed your shadow stretching these days, you're not alone. The elongated shadows are a fascinating result of the sun's lower angle during this time, particularly noticeable during the early morning and late afternoon.

The term "solstice" finds its roots in the Latin words "sol" (sun) and "sistere" (to stand still), perfectly encapsulating the phenomenon where the sun seemingly pauses in its apparent movement across the sky before reversing direction.



The Science Behind the Winter Solstice

As our planet orbits the sun, it also engages in a delicate dance of rotation, with its axis tilted at approximately 23.5 degrees relative to its orbit. Picture Earth as a spinning top, gracefully tilted, creating the magic of changing seasons.


During the winter solstice, the northern hemisphere leans farthest away from the sun. This tilt forces sunlight to travel through more of the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in weakened rays that spread out. The consequence? Colder temperatures, shorter days, and longer nights, with the sun casting elongated shadows as it appears lower in the sky.

As we marvel at the enchanting play of shadows and the subtle tilt of our planet, let's embrace the beauty of the winter solstice celestial phenomenon that paints the sky with shadows and welcomes winter's ice embrace. Click here to get instant aerospace and Defence Updates! 

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