Today marks the longest night and shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
On the Winter Solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is leaning furthest away from the sun. This positions the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, and at its lowest position in the Northern Hemisphere’s sky. A From now until the Summer Solstice on June 20, the days get longer. Exactly how much longer each day depends upon your latitude and the date. Things speed up until the Spring Equinox on March 20. At that point, the rate of change between day and night is the greatest.
The transition from longer days to shorter and back again is due to the tilt of the earth on its axis. That’s the same situation that causes the seasons. Each hemisphere has winter when its side of the earth is tilted furthest away from the sun.
The word “Solstice” comes from the Latin, which roughly translates to “sun standing still.” That refers to the impression people had that the sun’s noontime position did not change for several days surrounding the Solstice. It does, of course, but without accurate tools, the change was imperceptible.
We face the longest night tonight, but the good news is that from this point, every day gets longer until the Summer Solstice on June 21. For us golfers, the longer, warmer days cannot come fast enough.