Our shortest day

Our shortest day

It’s a special time for stargazers to celebrate as it means the sun appears in its most northerly position in the sky. It is also the day with the least number of daylight hours.

The number of daylight hours in a day changes gradually over a year, with more in summer and fewer in winter. The day with the least number of daylight hours is the winter solstice which occurs around June 21 each year.

It all changes because earth’s axis, which is the imaginary line that runs between the south and north poles, is tilted at an angle of about 23.5 degrees.

As our earth orbits the sun, the angle of this tilt doesn’t change. Over a year, either the northern or the southern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun.

In the southern hemisphere winter, the South Pole is tilted away from the sun.

It’s the exact opposite for our northern hemisphere neighbours. June 21 is their day with the greatest number of daylight hours and is their summer solstice.

After sunset on Saturday, grab your favourite hot drink, rug up warm and head outside. See what stars or planets you can spot and know that the warmth of the summer sun will gradually return.

Visit www.stargazersclubwa.com.au for more information.