The rising sun is seen through the prehistoric monument Stonehenge Getty

The winter solstice will take place on 22 December in the northern hemisphere, marking the longest night and shortest day of the year. From this date until the summer solstice in June, there will be more daylight hours. Ahead of the December solstice, here are five things you may not know about the astronomical event.

What is a solstice?

The Winter Solstice is an astronomical event caused by Earth's tilt on its axis and orbit around the Sun. Earth doesn't orbit upright but is instead tilted on its axis, meaning Earth's Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun's light and warmth most directly.

The tilt of the Earth is what causes winter and summer. The winter solstice occurs when Earth is leaning furthest from the sun – it is positioned so the sun stays below the North Pole horizon.