Google has marked the shortest day of the year, or Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere with a doodle on its homepage featuring two ice-skaters gliding around a snow globe. With snow falling on pine trees, the wintery conditions depicted in the doodle are far from what some parts of the UK have been experiencing recently.
The UK could possibly experience the warmest December on record, with many across the country set to miss out on a white Christmas. The two warmest Christmas days so far were recorded in Edinburgh in 1896 and Devon in 1920, with both seeing temperatures of 15.6C. Mild weather patterns over the last few weeks indicate that parts of the UK could see temperatures higher than the maximums already recorded.
In the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year as it is tilted away from the sun and receives the least amount of sunlight. In the UK, there will just be seven hours and 49 minutes of daylight.
After the winter solstice, days will gradually start to get longer, leading to the summer solstice in June 2016. In the Southern hemisphere, the day is marked by the longest day and the shortest night of the year.
The Stonehenge in Wiltshire, which is aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset will see free admission on Solstice day. This is to allow druids to conduct their observances. According to the chief of the British druids, Arthur Pendragon, the Solstice is the most important day of the year as it welcomes the new sun.