THE nights are drawing in and the weather is cooling down and many of us are gearing up for the winter months.
But when does winter actually star and what does the winter solstice have to do with it? Here’s the lowdown.
When does winter start this year?
How you define the first day of winter depends on if you mean either the astronomical or meteorological winter.
The meteorological winter begins on December 1 2017 and will end on February 28 2018.
The meteorological seasons consists of four periods made up of three months each.
These coincide with our Gregorian calendar and make it easier for meteorological forecasting to compare seasonal statistics.
By this calendar, winter always starts on December 1.
Meanwhile, the astronomical winter begins on December 21 2017 and ends on March 20 2018.
The astronomical calendar determines the seasons because of the Earth’s tilt in relation to its orbit around the sun and both equinoxes and solstices are related to this.
Does the winter solstice mark the first day of winter?
The winter solstice marks the first day of winter in regards to the astronomical calendar – it also marks the shortest day of the year.
After December 21, the nights will begin to get shorter as our planet rotates towards the sun.
The date where Earth is the nearest to the star is marked by the summer solstice.