Winter trifecta: Solstice, full moon, meteor shower on Friday, Saturday

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This year it is particularly special as the upcoming December full moon, named the Cold Moon, will be visible in the night sky along with the Ursid meteor shower. The date and time of Winter Solstice, featured in a special Google Doodle Friday, vary by the year, though it typically falls between December 19 and 22.

The first day of winter, Friday, Dec. 21, will not be your typical winter solstice.

What is the winter solstice? This happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere.

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For people living in the Southern hemisphere, the South Pole is pointing towards the Sun, making it summertime and the summer solstice today.

Because the earth spins on a tilted axis, the farther north from the equator you are, the less sunlight you'll receive during the winter solstice and the shorter the day it will be.

Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures the world over for thousands of years.

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However, the moon may appear bigger when it is near the horizon due to something known as the moon illusion.

Wait. Why is the Earth tilted?

In Ireland, people gather days before the solstice at Newgrange - a massive gravesite that is more than 5,000 years old. The crowds await chance to see the sunrise light up the ancient passage tomb. At Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, people similarly come together to watch the sun being cast over the famous prehistoric monument. In Iran, the occasion is celebrated as Yalda night or Shab-e-Yalda. For Jews, the winter solstice is called "Tekufat Tevet", which marks the start of winter.

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Winter Solstice 2018 date and time? "The major attraction of the festival are the rice balls called 'Tang Yuan, ' which translate to 'family reunion". This treat is said to bring prosperity and unity-something all of us can enjoy on this auspicious day.

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