LAKANA Today's winter solstice will feature full moon and meteor shower

A brilliant full moon rises at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017.                  NASA  Kim Shiflett

A brilliant full moon rises at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017. NASA Kim Shiflett

This year's solstice is special as it will be followed the next day by the year's last full moon, called the Cold Moon, and the Ursid meteor shower.

People around the globe have celebrated this astronomical milestone for centuries.

You can determine the exact time of the solstice according to your location, here.

The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, is a phenomena that occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It derives its name from the Latin word "solstitium", which means "Sun standing still". This happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere.

Across the world in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, the ancient stonewalled Mayan city of Tulum also has a structure honoring the solstices. This is all made possible because Earth's axis sits at a 23.5 degree angle as it revolves around the sun.

To talk about the science behind winter solstice, it marks the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere since the sun is positioned at its most southerly position while directly overheating at the Tropic of Capricorn.

In the Northern Hemisphere it is the December solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere its June solstice.

In India, this astronomical event - winter solstice 2018 or December Solstice - will take place at 3:53 am on December 22 IST. That's because it's winter solstice, a day on which most of the United States clocks fewer than 10 hours of daylight, reports the Washington Post. In Ireland, people convene at a 5,000-year-old gravesite called Newgrange, where they wait for a chance to see the sunrise lighting up the tomb. In Iran, the occasion is celebrated as Yalda night or Shab-e-Yalda.

The festive food is said to bring prosperity and unity among families.

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