By Melissa Chan
December 21, 2015

The winter solstice will fall in the early morning hours of Dec. 22, marking the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

The astronomical event also means it’ll be the longest day of the year for those who live south of the equator. The solstice starts at 4:48 a.m. UTC on Dec. 22 (which is 11:48 p.m. ET on Dec. 21), the moment when the Northern Hemisphere is pointed at its farthest distance from the sun.

READ MORE: 5 Things to Know About the Winter Solstice

During the solstice, those on the East Coast of the U.S. will only see nine hours and 15 minutes of daylight.

Christmas has become associated with winter solstice, which serves as a turning point in the year in many cultures.

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