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Winter Solstice 2012: The Shortest Day of the Year

December 21, 2012 is not only the first official day of winter, but it is also the shortest day of the year.

Some days have been so cold that it's hard to believe that today, Dec. 21, 2012 is the official start of winter.

In addition to the beginning of the coldest of the seasons, today is also the shortest day of the year: the winter solstice.

According to Almanac.com, the word solstice comes from the Latin words for "sun" and "to stand still.”

The Sun’s path has reached its southern most position on the winter solstice and it will advance northward the next day.

During the winter solstice, the North Pole tilts furthest away from the sun at 23.5 degrees, which produces the longest night in the Northern Hemisphere, as reported by the Huffington Post. In the United States the shine will shine for less than ten hours on today.

After this date, days start getting longer.

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