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The winter solstice 2022

Planet Earth

Date of acquisition:    December 22nd, 2022  |  10:09:09 UTC

Sensor:   Sentinel-3B SLSTR

Coordinates:     67°N, 14°E

On the day of the winter solstice, the height of the sun above the horizon at noon is at its minimum. On the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice shifts annually between December 21st or 22nd because the length of the solar year does not exactly coincide with a calendar year. In 2022, the winter solstice occurred exactly on December 21st at 21:48 UTC. For a few days before and after the moment of the solstice, the sun will “hold that altitude” as if standing still for a while.

In these December days, beyond the Arctic Circle (66.5°N), the polar night sets in, which does not necessarily mean complete darkness throughout the day, but also twilight. Its main feature is that the sun does not rise above the horizon. At that moment, while moving along the ecliptic, the sun reaches the furthest position from the celestial equator to the world’s South Pole. An astronomical winter has arrived in the planet’s northern hemisphere.

A satellite image acquired by the Sentinel-3 SLSTR shows part of Scandinavia (67°N, 14°E) covered by pink clouds lit from the south by the low sun. A part of the Norwegian coast of the region between latitudes 65°N and 69°N was cloud-free at twilight and therefore visible.

Images contain modified Copernicus Sentinal data [2022].