Depending on where you are in the world, December 21 or 22 marks the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere: the official beginning of winter, and the longest night of the year. Here in Nova Scotia, the switch happens either late tonight at 11:30 pm.
The bright side to the longest night? The days start to get progressively longer, up until the summer solstice in June.
The word “solstice” is Latin for “sun-stand still”.
Ever wondered what the difference is between a "solstice" and an "equinox"? It's related to the Earth's orbit around the sun.
Twice a year, at the spring and fall equinox, the north and south pole are perpendicular, giving us equal amounts of day and night. As the orbit of the Earth continues, the angle of the poles increase or decrease, changing the balance of day or night. Therefore, we get the longest day in late June and the shortest day in late December.