Winter solstice has come and gone, daylight now increasing

- The complaints you get from Minnesotans, and most humans for that matter, about the winter is that it’s too cold OR that there isn’t enough sunshine… or both.  Well, I have some good news for those that are a bit vitamin D deprived is that the amount of daylight we receive is now increasing. 

The winter solstice is the point in Earth’s orbit around the sun where the Northern Hemisphere is facing the farthest away from our star.  It’s at that point that the direct light from the sun is at the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere.  But now, as we continue our orbit, the Northern Hemisphere begins to tilt back toward the sun and Earth begins its long journey to the other side of our orbit where light is pointing directly at the northern hemisphere along the Tropic of Cancer.  This swaying of daylight, and therefore heat, is what gives us our seasons.

On the winter solstice every year, the metro has 8 hours 46 minutes and 13 seconds of daylight where the sun peaks just 21.6° above the horizon.  It’s this lack of daylight that gives us our colder temperatures… and that we are in the interior of a large continent, away from the oceans which typically moderate temperatures.  Contrast those numbers with the summer solstice which occurred on June 21st this year, we had 15 hours 36 minutes and 49 seconds of daylight with a peak sun angle of 68.5°… quite the difference.

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