According to EarthSky, the 2016 December solstice arrives on December 21, at 10:44 UTC. That’s 4:44 a.m. CST for the Central time zone in North America. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice ushers in our shortest period of daylight and longest period of darkness for the year. And yet – if we consider the length of the day in another light – the longest days of the year come each year in December for the entire globe. When we say the longest days of the year come each year around the December solstice for the entire globe, we’re talking about day not as a period of daylight – but as the interval from one solar noon – or midday – to the next.
According to EarthSky, the annual Ursid meteor shower always peaks near the time of the December solstice, so, in 2016, look for some possible activity over the next several nights. The forecast calls for December 21-22 to be the peak night. Normally a sparse shower, you might see about five meteors per hour. This shower favors the more northerly latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. All meteors in annual showers have radiant points on our sky’s dome, and the showers take their names from the constellations in which the radiant points lie.
What is the summer solstice and how can I share this with my child? The summer solstice will take place June 20, 2016 at approximately 6:34pm EDT, in the Southern Tier of New York. This marks the longest length of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere. Check out this video from PBS Learning Media and share with your K-5th grade child explaining how the earth revolves around the sun on it’s axis, creating the seasons and solstice.