Google marks Winter Solstice with a doodle on its home page

Google Earth Pro An illustration of Earth during the December solstice in 2018

Google Earth Pro An illustration of Earth during the December solstice in 2018

Google has celebrated the "longest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere", also known as the Summer Solstice, by dedicating a doodle.

In Perth, the solstice is set to occur at 6.23am, about an hour after sunrise, and at 12.14pm the Sun will be at its highest point in 12 months.

Shown above is the orientation of the Earth relative to the sun's most direct rays around the time of the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice.

Typically around Dec. 21 or 22 - though on rare occasions, it can be as early as Dec. 20 or as late as Dec. 23 - the sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5 degrees south latitude). After Friday each afternoon will gradually see more and more daylight until the summer solstice in June.

This year's Winter Solstice will coincide with a Full Cold Moon - the full moon of December, according to Space.com.

For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Dec. 21 marks the beginning of the longest night of the year - and, of course, the shortest day.

Earth during december solstice summer winter tropic cancer capricorn tilt axis sunlight graphic insider shayanne gal
Google Marks Winter Solstice, Shortest Day Of The Year With A Doodle

As the Earth spins around its axis, all people and things north of the Earth's equator experience the shortest day and longest night in the year. The day and time of the solstice vary each year.

In Native American cultures which tracked the calendar by the moons, December's Full Moon was known as the Full Cold Moon, as it marked the time when winter begins its cold grip.

The last time that a winter solstice and a full cold moon occurred within a day of each other was 2010, and it won't happen again until 2029.

What happens in a winter solstice?

The annual Ursids meteor shower is expected to peak a day or two after the solstice.

When viewing a meteor shower, It's important to lie flat and look straight up - taking in as much of the sky as possible, according to NASA. China marks the start of winter with the Dongzhi festival, during which families come together and enjoy rice balls called tangyuan.

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