LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas valley will see the shortest day of the year on Tuesday with nine hours, 42 minutes and one second of daylight.
That's because winter solstice 2021 is on Dec. 21, marking the first official day of winter — at least, for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere on Earth.
In the Southern Hemisphere, it's a very different story today.
What is a solstice?
A solstice marks an astronomical season and has to do with the rotation of the Earth around the sun and the tilt of its axis.
When the winter solstice happens in the Northern Hemisphere, as is the situation in Las Vegas today, the North Pole is tilted at its furthest point from the sun all year. This marks the shortest day of the year and the official start of winter for those living in the hemisphere.
But because of the tilt of the Earth's axis, that also means that in the Southern Hemisphere, the South Pole is closest to the sun. There, today's solstice marks the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer.
A solstice happens twice a year for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
For the Las Vegas area, the winter solstice typically happens in December and the summer solstice happens in June. While the solstice dates are the same for the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons they mark are the exact opposite.
Also worth pointing out, tonight will also be the longest night of the year in Las Vegas.
Wednesday, Dec. 22, will have a slightly longer day of just two extra seconds.
Did you catch a beautiful picture or video of the sunrise or sunset today? We would love to see it! Send pictures or videos to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know who needs the credit, we may just share it on-air or online.