Crowds gather at Newgrange for winter solstice

Toby Melville—Reuters

A Doodle marking the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere was also released featuring the same mouse reading a book inside his home before getting distracted by a bright beam of sunlight that enters his domain due to a bird.

Druids still gather at Stonehenge in the West Country to mark the occasion to this day, pagan revellers meeting at dawn to observe the morning sun rising over the ancient circle's Heel Stone. They experience their longest day and shortest night of the year. What really matters is that the account is one more little nudge to feel better during the long slog of winter. This astronomical quirk happens because of Earth's 23.5-degree tilt and our elliptical orbit around the sun. For a complete listing of the dates of the winter and summer solstices and the spring and fall equinoxes through 2025, check out this calendar from the U.S. Eastern Time on December 21.

Contrary to popular belief, the winter solstice isn't the earliest sunset of the year.

Why isn't the winter solstice on the same day each year?

Winter Solstice Is Celebrated At Stonehenge
Today's Winter Solstice Is the Shortest Day of the Year. Here's When the Sun Sets Near You

And that's why, for millennia, humans have celebrated the solstice-for the return of the sun that it marks.

That means that December 21 will be the shortest day of the year, with the least amount of hours of sunlight.

"The coldest time usually comes a month or two later because even though the amount of solar heating is beginning to increase, it isn't yet enough to reverse the cooling", Schneider says.

The winter solstice may be the shortest day of the year, but that doesn't mean you'll have an early sunset. Learn more about the solstice and why it's not the coldest day of the year in our scientific guide below. The Stonehenge monument is shaped so it aligns with the winter's solstice sunset.

Marijuana for Christmas? Elderly Couple Arrested With 60 Pounds for Gifts
These options may not be quite as impressive as $336,000 of raw weed, but hey, it's the thought that counts. The state, like many in the USA , has not decriminalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use.

Ex-wife of former National Basketball Association player charged in his 2010 killing
A release from the Shelby County District Attorney's office says Turner and Sherra Wright conspired to kill Lorenzen Wright . That's when his body was found in a field by Callis Cutoff Road near Hacks Cross and Winchester in southeast Memphis.

Rohit Sharma's 208*: A look at the record knock in numbers
Still only 30, this was Rohit's 16th ODI century, taking him past Sehwag to fourth place in India's all-time centurion list. For India , Yuzvendra Chahal grabbed three wickets while commencing 60 runs, whereas paceman Jasprit Bumrah picked up two.