KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tuesday just before 11 a.m. the winter solstice took place, making Wednesday the first full day of astrological winter – i.e. winter, based on the position of the Earth in relation to the sun rather than temperature.

The winter solstice takes place when the Earth’s tilt is the furthest away from the sun. Typically, it takes place between Dec. 20 and Dec. 23 in the Northern Hemisphere. The Earth rotates on an axis that is tilted 23 and a half degrees. This tilt is what gives us seasons.

On the solstice, since the tilt of the axis is pointed furthest away from the sun, more sunlight hits the Southern Hemisphere, and less sunlight hits the Northern Hemisphere. The first day of winter, the day after the solstice is the shortest day in daylight time, and the longest night in the nighttime, in the northern hemisphere.

From this point until we get to that summer solstice, we’ll gain daylight every day for the next six months until June 21, 2022, when the summer solstice will take place. This is when the axis is tilted toward the sun.