Monday, December 22, 2014

Shortest- Longest Day? Yes, but Mornings? Well, Mornings Will Be Darker in the Northern Hemisphere
Today is the shortest day of the year, so it should follow that mornings will start getting brighter from now on, shouldn't it? Not necessarily, writes Kris Griffiths.

This Sunday, 21 December, the northern hemisphere will experience the shortest day of its year, marked at 23:03 GMT by an astronomical phenomenon known as the winter solstice - the moment the North Pole is tilted furthest from the sun as the Earth continues on its orbit.

The solstice doesn't always occur on 21 December. Sometimes it nudges into the early hours of 22 December, which will happen again next year. The hour of day also varies. Last year's arrived at 17:11. Next year's will at 04:38.

Whatever day or time it happens, for many commuters it means leaving the house and returning from work in darkness, in the knowledge that from here on in the long nights will get shorter, with the sun rising earlier and setting later as we journey again towards the spring equinox.

However, the more astute of these early risers might have perceived a curious development, which may have passed by the more bleary-eyed unnoticed.

It would seem logical that after the shortest day has elapsed the mornings would start getting lighter earlier, but this isn't what happens - the mornings continue darkening until early in the new year.