Cheer Up: The Winter Solstice Is Here - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Cheer Up: The Winter Solstice Is Here

Published December 21, 2018

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Today is the darkest day of the year for the northern hemisphere, which means only one thing: sunlight will keep increasing from this point onwards.

As RÚV reports, at 22:23 tonight, the earth will have tilted as far away from the sun as it’s going to this year, marking the shortest day of the year. For those of us in Reykjavík, that means that the sunlight today will only last four hours and seven minutes.

Count your blessings, though: in Akureyri, on the north coast, they will only see three hours and four minutes of sunlight, and on the isle of Grímsey, which straddles the Arctic Circle, they can expect a paltry two hours of sunlight, give or take a couple minutes.

Compounding the darkness is the fact that this day will in fact be 24 hours and 30 seconds long, as the standard clock does not completely accurately reflect the true time it take for the planet to make a single rotation, cruelly taunting us with an extra half minute of darkness.

This, however, should be occasion for celebration: from this point forward, the days will begin to get longer, and at an accelerating rate. By this time next month, there will be a workable six hours and ten minutes or so of sunlight; a month after that, a much more reasonable nine hours of sunlight will grace Reykjavík. Sunlight will continue to increase until June 21—the summer solstice, and the longest day of the year—when the darkness will begin to slowly increase again. But that’s next year’s problem.

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