Shortest day of the year has arrived in Ontario


Published December 21, 2023 at 1:22 pm

shortest day year ontario
Photo: Suliman Sallehi

The shortest day of the year has arrived.

Today (Dec. 21) is winter solstice, which means it is the shortest day and the longest night of the year, according to Environment Canada.

For countries in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs annually on Dec. 21 or 22 — the day with the fewest hours of sunlight, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

In Mississauga, the sun rose at 7:49 a.m. and it will set at 4:45 p.m. today — providing about nine hours of daylight compared to around 15 hours at the summer solstice, according to Environment Canada. The times vary across Ontario and Canada with the shortest days further north.

On winter solstice, the sun lies right over the Tropic of Capricorn and the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun, Environment Canada notes.

One test of the winter solstice is the length of a person’s shadow — it’s the longest shadow cast all year. It gets progressively smaller until summer solstice when there is almost no shadow at all.

Winter solstice is often thought of as an entire calendar day but it actually lasts only a moment — at 10:27 p.m., according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

Specifically, it’s the exact moment when a hemisphere is tilted as far away from the sun as possible, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

While Ontario has already seen some blasts of winter and storms, today marks the first day of astronomical winter.

The good news is from tomorrow on, the days will start getting longer. At least until summer solstice, which falls on June 20, 2024.

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