The season's shortest day

When is winter solstice 2017 in December

This also means the first day of winter has arrived, but if you're not a winter lover, then the countdown to spring has also begun.

This year there will be live streaming of the sunrise at the world heritage listed site from 8.30-9.15am (Irish time obviously) on December 20th and 21st, here or on YouTube - from your home, office, laptop, tablet or phone!

Each year, the OPW runs a Winter Solstice Lottery - in 2017, it says, over 33,000 people applied from as far afield as Austria, Italy and the US.

Thursday is the Winter Solstice which is the official start of Winter.

The solstice also marks the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the northern hemisphere, giving the solstice the nickname the shortest day of the year. By contrast, it sits directly over the Tropic of Cancer during the summer solstice. Fortunately, we'll be moving back towards longer days after this Thursday - the shortest day of the year.

That means December, January and February are the height of summer in countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

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Dr O'Kelly is believed to have been the first human to witness the winter solstice from inside Newgrange in millennia.

Technically, the solstice can happen any day between December 20 and December 23 because the calendars we use aren't the same length as a solar year.

This happens twice a year, mid-way between the summer and winter solstices, on March 21 and September 23. The solstice, the precise time at which the axis and the sun align, marks the halfway point of this period.

Is the solstice on the same day every year?

It is one of the wonders of the ancient world - and it still captivates us to this day.

For the same reason, solstices and equinoxes are not always on the same day every year.

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