(KTEN) – The 2021 winter solstice occurred at 9:59 a.m. CT on Tuesday, December 21, marking the official start of winter and the shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere. 


In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. 

Earth’s axis of rotation lies on a 23.5 degree tilt which creates a rise and fall appearance of the sun throughout the year. During the winter solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted at its furthest distance from the sun, resulting in less light and colder temperatures. 


The tilt of the Earth is what causes the changes in the seasons. The sun lies directly above the Tropic of Capricorn during the Winter Solstice and lies directly above the Tropic of Cancer during the Summer Solstice. 

In fact, Earth is closer to the sun in the winter than it is in the summer. 

From now through June 21, the days will continue to grow longer. The longest day of the year will occur on June 21, 2022, the summer solstice.

Sunset times will continue to be later and later each month with sunset near 5:30 p.m. in January and a sunset time of almost 6:30 p.m. by March. 

What’s the weather looking like for the first full week of winter? Well… it won’t be feeling like winter at all. Afternoon temperatures are forecast to reach near-80 degrees by Christmas Eve with highs remaining in the 70s through December 27th.

No white Christmas for us this year but, it’ll definitely be a warm Christmas!