Today is the winter solstice
The northern hemisphere sees its shortest day today as the Sun reaches it furthest point south.
At 2303 UTC on 21 December, the Sun is at its furthest south of the celestial equator at 23º 26.1' S - the winter solstice for the northern hemisphere.
This is called 'mid-winter' by some, but the meteorological definition of winter is the months of December, January and February - which makes 'mid-winter' mid-January.
The Sun will move back into the northern hemisphere at 2245 UTC on 20 March 2015 - the vernal equinox.
And, at 0100 UTC on 29 March 2015, Europe will change to Summer Time (BST/EST) - reverting to 'normal' at 0100 UTC on 25 October.
Late 2015 will also see a major decision by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on whether to continue applying leap seconds to keep UTC aligned to mean solar time. The UK Government and the Institute believe that leap seconds should remain, but there is considerable pressure - especially from the 'high-frequency trading' financial sector - to drop them altogether. The last leap second was applied on 30 June 2012.
Details from the Royal Observatory link below - and almanacs may be downloaded from the NavSoft link . .
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