Solstices mark the longest and shortest days of the year, sort-of…
Although the solstice gets an entire day of recognition, it happens in an instant, at 10:44 a.m. in the UK!
That’s the point when the North Pole is at its farthest tilt away from the sun. In the UK, we’ll get about 7 hours and 50 minutes worth of daylight.
If you live near the Arctic circle, which is pointing far away from the Sun, you’ll get about 4 hours of daylight.
The time lapse below shows what happened in Fairbanks, Alaska. The sun basically skims the horizon for a brief while and then vanishes!
One popular place to gather on solstice days is Stonehenge.
Nobody really knows why Stonehenge was built but one theory is that it was used to mark solstices like the one today.
That’s it’s aligned toward the sunset during the winter solstice.
Teresa of the American Astronomical Society explains –
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“While the summer solstice draws a larger crowd, the winter solstice may have been more important to the ancient builders. At this time, cattle were slaughtered so the animals did not need to be fed through the winter.”