Here’s why this year’s winter solstice is unique

Winter Solistice 2018: Google Doodle celebrates the shortest day of the year

A brilliant full moon rises at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017. From then on, days will get longer by a matter of seconds, then minutes, until the longest day of the year in June. "As the Earth moves around the sun, each hemisphere experiences winter when it's tilted away from the sun and summer when it's tilted toward the sun", according to CNN.

We will view the shortest day and longest night of the year, officially welcoming the winter season. That means our lunar neighbor should be plenty bright enough all weekend to light up your solstice celebrations. It is the last full moon of 2018 and it will be on Saturday.

That also, of course, means the night will be longer, which means even more time for moon-gazing and meteor shower spotting! This year, it is set to take place at 22:23 Universal Time, 17:22 EST, or 14:22 PT on Friday, December 21.

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A full moon will occur December 22, bringing a bright light to the start of winter. The summer solstice is when the sun's rays are farthest north over the Tropic of Cancer, giving us our longest day and summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

In China, where they call the Winter Solstice Dongzhi Festival, people enjoy rice balls called tang yuan, which translates to "family reunion".

So what's going on with this full moon?

The next time it will happen will be in 2094. So it's not a once-in-a-lifetime event, but still, you don't see this too often.

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The specific day and time of the solstice can differ from that day since it doesn't line up with the normal calendar, according to CNN. Few things are as magical as the heavens full of shooting stars, and December gives us that gift in the form of the Ursid meteor shower.

In the south, it's just the reverse though.

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