View of Earth at the time of the solstice in December 2015, as seen by Meteosat-7 and Meteosat-10.
04 November 2020
22 December 2015
By Mark Higgins and Jose Prieto (EUMETSAT)
The December solstice marks the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere (summer solstice) and the shortest day for the Northern Hemisphere (winter solstice).
That difference can be seen by how much of the Earth is visible in the Meteosat images. The Sun illuminates more of the Southern Hemisphere at this time of year, and the very North Pole remains in darkness.
Figure 1 (above) shows the view of the Earth from the Meteosat-7 satellite, covering the Indian Ocean, at 05:00 UTC just after the solstice at 04:48 UTC.
Figure 2 shows the view at the same time but from Meteosat-10 using the Natural Colour RGB.
Even at Greenwich midnight, grazing reflection on calm water surfaces produces a strong signal close to the Antarctica, where the Sun is 24 hours above the horizon. In particular this graphic shows the location of the Meteosat sun glint centre for any time of the year.
10 Things About the December Solstice (Time and Date)
December solstice near the southern polar circle
December solstice occurred in 2018 at 22:23 UTC on 21 December and could be 'seen' in satellite imagery.
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As precisely forecast, the northern hemisphere winter solstice (summer solstice in the southern) started on 21 December at 16:27 UTC.
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