When is it going to start getting light again and what is winter solstice?

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Winters can often feel like we’re stuck in darkness with days getting shorter and colder as the year draws to a close. But when will it start getting light again?

Sun flare on an urban street with blurred cars passing by
Days will start getting longer after the winter solstice, or shortest day of the year

Cold, dull mornings and pitch black darkness as early as 4pm are common during the winters and there’s very little you can do about it.

Though winters can feel endless with short, dark days one after the other, light mornings and evenings will come back eventually.

In the depths of winter it can feel like spring is a long time away.

Days only get darker until we hit the shortest day of the year — winter solstice — which happens on December 21, 2021.

However after winter solstice, the days will start getting longer.

Here’s when you can expect to see longer, sunnier days again.

It’s worth noting that how much light we get also depends on clocks going forward in March and back again in October
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Image:

Getty Images/iStockphoto)

What is the winter solstice?

The winter solstice is when the Earth’s axis is tilted away from the sun, marking the shortest day and longest night in 365 days in the Northern Hemisphere.

Usually happening between December 20-23, the shortest day of the year will fall on December 21 this year.

On this day, London typically sees around seven hours, 49 minutes and 42 seconds of sunlight, starting with an 8.04am sunrise, but this will vary depending on where in the UK you’re based.

When does it start getting light again?

A few days after the the winter solstice, days will start getting longer by an average of two minutes and seven seconds every day until we have a full extra hour of daylight by January 18, 2022.

From this point onwards and every four weeks after, we’ll continue to get an hour or so of sunshine lighting up the day.

The evenings will then keep getting lighter until the summer solstice
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Image:

PA)

However, the evenings will remain without much sun until March.

During the spring equinox, there will be equal amounts of daylight to night time.

The spring equinox will happen on March 20, 2022. From this point, you’ll find that days are longer by four minutes with each passing day, and the sun will begin setting only after 6pm.

The evenings will then keep getting lighter until the summer solstice – or longest day of the year – on June 21, 2022.

After this, evenings will slowly begin getting shorter again and the cycle will continue.

It’s worth noting that how much light we get also depends on clocks going forward in March and back again in October.

What is the Equation of Time?

Most would assume that days start getting lighter immediately after the shortest day, but it’s due to the Equation of Time that this doesn’t happen.

The equation relates to the earth’s orbit and axis because of which solar noon doesn’t always occur at noon on our clocks every day.

In short, this means that though our days are measured in 24 hours, actual days can be slightly over.

This phenomenon also means that there will be a discrepancy between the solstice and when it actually starts getting lighter in the mornings.

This delay from the Equation of Time is why days start getting lighter from January, even if the solstice happens in December.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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