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LAKANA Today's winter solstice will feature full moon and meteor shower

21 December 2018, 11:40 | Ross Houston

Winter trifecta: Solstice, full moon, meteor shower on Friday, Saturday

Winter Begins

Today, on December 21, the sun will rise around 7:54 a.m. and set at 4:20 p.m.in Seattle, marking the shortest day of the year.

Fremont Art Council is holding a winter solstice feast, complete with decorations and costumes.

The word "solstice" comes from the Latin solstitium meaning "sun stands still", when the "motion of sun's path" stops briefly. The Long Night Moon is named after the longest night of the year on the winter solstice. This happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere.

Google's doodle for the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere is just as charming.

Friday night is also the peak of the Ursid meteor shower, but a near-full moon and cloud cover will make for poor meteor-viewing conditions.

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How is the Winter Solstice observed throughout the world? At this time of year, each day is about 24 hours, 30 seconds long.

Wait. Why is the Earth tilted? This tilt in Earth's axis of rotation gives different parts of the planet more exposure to the Sun at different times of the year.

At Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, large crowds gather to celebrate and capture the moment when the sun directly aligns with the famous stones. The mob await chance to witness the sunrise light up the ancient passage tomb. In Iran, this event is celebrated as Yalda night or Shab-e-Yalda.

So let's walk through what the winter solstice actually means.

The winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. "The major attraction of the festival are the rice balls called 'Tang Yuan, ' which translate to 'family reunion". This treat is said to bring prosperity and unity.



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