The SS Klondike National Historic Site is adorned with festive lighting for the winter. On the shortest day of this year, the sun rose at 10:09 a.m. and (officially) set at 3:47p.m., though it sun dipped behind the mountains earlier, the actual day seemed shorter than its listed “length of day”- 5 hours and 38 minutes.
Winter solstice marks the beginning of longer days in the northern hemisphere (7 seconds tomorrow!). Today was the darkest and shortest day of the year because it was the time when the sun reached its southernmost point in the sky. In Whitehorse this happened at 9:11 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2013.
From today on, the sun will creep further north and get ever higher in the sky until summer solstice, at which time the sun will start to head south again.
When the sun is lower in the sky over winter, its shorter path makes for shorter days. The tilt of Earth’s axis alters the position of the sun in our sky and gives us differing lengths of day and night. Axial tilt is the reason for the season.