Winter Solstice 2012: Which Cities Have The Shortest Days?

By iScience Times Staff on December 21, 2012 3:53 PM EST

Arctic sunset
The winter solstice of 2012 is a great time of year for sunsets. (Photo: NASA)

The winter solstice of 2012 is upon (half of) us and, thankfully, it came apocalypse free.  Astronomy fans recognize this time of year as the point in the Earth's journey around the sun when the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the star, delivering the shortest day of the year for the northern hemisphere. Known as the axial tilt, the angle of the Earth is the cause of the winter solstice 2012. One of the prevailing myths about the winter solstice 2012 is that it's caused because the Earth is at its farthest point away from the sun.

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But anyone who's ever seen that episode of the Simpsons where Bart gets kicked by the giant boot in Australia knows that the southern hemisphere operates by a different set of rules, and the winter solstice of 2012 for the northern hemisphere is actually the spring equinox for everyone south of the equator. Since the winter of solstice of 2012 will be causing the shortest day of the year for the northern hemisphere, it's only natural to wonder which cities will be experiencing the shortest of the shortest days. So, without further adieu, here are five cities who have some of the shortest ays in the world today. (If you want to check the sunshine where you are, click here.)

1.       Reykjavik

The further north you go during the winter solstice of 2012, the shorter the days get. So it should come as no surprise that the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik clocks the shortest day for any major city in the northern hemisphere, a vampire-friendly 4 hours and 7 minutes of daylight today.

2.       Stockholm

Known for their meatballs and their inexpensive furniture, the Swedish get a sliver more sunlight than their Icelandic neighbors. The sun rose at 8:44 a.m. in Stockholm today, and set at 2:48 p.m. giving the city a brief 6 hour and 4 minute bath of sunshine.

3.       Moscow

Everyone has heard of the legendary Russian winters (we're looking at you ghosts of Napoleon and Hitler) but the Russian winter solstice of 2012 gets markedly less attention. And less sunshine than just about everywhere else. Only seven hours of solar love will cascade on the comrades in the Russian capital, but in true Communist spirit it gets shared equally by everyone.

4.       Berlin

JFK once said 'Ich bin ein Berliner!" which more or less translates to "I am a jelly doughnut!" During the winter of solstice of 2012 we can all feel a little like a jelly doughnut if we draw the shades around 3:54 p.m., the time the sun sets in Berlin today after a not-quite-full-time workday of 7 hours and 39 minutes.

5.       London

Don't let those famous British suntans fool you, London only gets 7 hours and 50 minutes of sunshine during the winter solstice of 2012. They used to say the sun never sets on the British empire, but today it goes down at 3:54 p.m.

The winter solstice of 2012 might sound dreary with all the 'lack of sunshine' talk, but consider the upside. Less sunshine means more time inside to celebrate the wonders of electricity. Unless you rely on solar power ...

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