FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The wait is over.
December 21st marks the winter solstice and the slow return of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.
Winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year, and it occurred at 7:28 this morning in the Interior.
We had slightly less than 3 hours and 42 minutes of daylight today; tomorrow, the sun will be up for 15 seconds longer.
This day marks the exact moment when the sun's rays are focused on their southernmost point during Earth's annual cycle.
The solstice exists because Earth is tilted on its axis, and the year-long "wobble" means each hemisphere receives different amounts of daylight.
Donald Hampton, from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says the coming of daylight after winter solstice is important to Alaskans.
Donald Hampton; Geophysical Institute, UAF>>"There's actually a day when you've got the latest sunrise them you got the day where there's the earliest sunset. Our earth is actually tilted about 23 and a half degrees and that tilt is fixed in space so part of the year the northern hemisphere is facing the sun and part of the year the southern hemisphere is facing the sun. About 7:30 this morning, when the axis of the earth is pointing right at the sun and that basically gave us the day the shortest day of sunlight."