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Winter solstice: what you need to know

Celebrations range from the sacrificial to the downright bizarre

By Alex Dean  

Stonehenge at sunset on winter solstice, 2004 ©Vicky Wakefield-Jarrett

What is it?

It marks the day of the year when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun, and is also the day with the fewest hours of light: the sun is at its lowest point in the sky for us as the Northern Hemisphere tilts away from it. This means that the winter solstice for the North Pole marks the summer solstice for the South pole. Daylight today…

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