Today marks the official first day of the new season. It's also the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere.
But don't let that get you down! From here on out, the days will be growing longer all the way until summer solstice on June 21. Sure, it might be hard to tell — we gain about 2 minutes more sunlight each day through June — but it all adds up! The warm weather and fun in the sun will be back before you know it.
Fun Facts About the Shortest Day of the Year!
The solstice occurs at the same moment for everyone on the planet. The exact time is pinpointed by the tilt of the Earth's axis.
However, the amount of daylight people will see today varies by location:
New York City: about 9 hours 15 minutes
Key West, FL: about 10.5 hours
Seattle, WA: just under 8.5 hours
South Pole: 24 hours of daylight, also called "the midnight sun"
North Pole: 0 hours; they won't see the sun rise for six months!
Scientists can determine the dates of solstices and equinoxes on Venus and Mars using axial tilt and distance from the sun, just like on Earth. Most of the other planets have orbits that are too erratic to pinpoint these dates, but their seasons can be calculated.