Today is the first day of winter, although you wouldn’t think it considering the bitterly cold weather we’ve been having recently in the North and Northwest Suburban area this month. But if there’s one thing that makes Chicago appreciate summer, it’s winters like this.
As the Winter Solstice passes us by today, we’re reminded of what it is exactly, besides being the shortest day of the year with the least amount of sunlight for those of us living north of the equator.
Last night marked the longest night of the year and after this, it only gets better as we get more and more sun until Summer Solstice, which is June 20 next year. But between now and then, here are 5 fun facts about Winter Solstice.
- Winter Solstice happens when the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn, or 23.5° south latitude, which when you think of the Earth tilting on its axis, it’s like the bottom ¼ of the planet getting directly hit by the sun. The land below the equator is getting their max fix of sun, whereas we’re getting the least. Check out this image courtesy of NASA to get the picture.
- It’s not the just the date that makes Winter Solstice so specific, it’s the time too. Winter Solstice occurred exactly at 4:54 AM CT.
- The Chicago area, and the rest of the world that lives around our latitude, got about 9-9.5 hours of sunlight and the further north you get, the less light all the way up to the North Pole where no daylight occurred. In Alaska, much of the state only gets a sliver of daylight during winter that looks not much more than early sunrise.
- Statistically, even though this date is the shortest, it’s not the coldest. That’s January for us Chicagoans. This is because a lot of temperature on land is actually contingent on the oceans absorbing the sun’s energy and then releasing it slowly, so there’s a delay between the shortest day and the coolest day, which is usually after the Winter Solstice.
- Scientists strongly believe that Stonehedge was built to mark the solstices and equinoxes so they’d know how to mark their year. It’s one of early man’s most interesting achievements, built about 5,000 years ago.
Knowing about why the Winter Solstice happens won’t help you prepare for the cold Chicagoland months ahead. But we can help you with that. That first step to getting your home winterized (if it’s not already!) is getting your furnace checked out and properly maintained. We service all the major brands, including Lennox, American Standard and Rheem. Call us at 847.509.2024 today to make an appointment! We’re in your community – from Lake Forest to Skokie and Evanston to Arlington Heights, we’ll be at your home in now time!