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Things are going to start looking brighter soon.


After Saturday — the shortest day of the year — the sun will gradually start showing its face more in the Northern Hemisphere.

Each day will bring about 30 more seconds of sunlight, slowly increasing up to about five additional minutes per day by spring, said Capt. Matthew Haukey, with the 21st Operational Weather Squadron at Sembach Air Base, Germany.

“The rate is slower in the winter than in the spring,” he said.

“But at least we’ve turned the corner and the days are starting to get longer.”

The science behind the change — which also marks the first day of winter — can be explained through a series of complicated geometry equations.

But, basically, the tilt of the Earth and its constant orientation toward the North Star as it circles the sun means more light is hitting the Southern Hemisphere this time of year, Haukey said.

The astronomical event, known as the winter solstice, can fall on either Dec. 22 or Dec. 21.

The astronomical opposite — the summer solstice — happens June 21, the longest day of the year.

In between, the spring and fall equinoxes each bring exactly 12 hours of daylight around the world.

Since ancient times, people have celebrated these solar events with a variety of cultural and religious ceremonies around the world.

However, just because the sun is making a comeback doesn’t mean the weather is going to start warming up anytime soon.

The Northern Hemisphere doesn’t reach its coldest until about mid-January, Haukey said.

Solstice/equinox seasonal scheduleSaturday — winter solsticeMarch 20 — spring equinoxJune 21 — summer solsticeSept. 22 — fall equinox


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