The longest night of the year seemed to fall over Maine on a Friday afternoon with a blanket of fog and rain.
The winter solstice took place at 17:23. In the northern hemisphere, the sun moved directly above the Tropic of Capricorn or 23.5 degrees south latitude.
The winter solstice brings the shortest day of the year with just 8 hours and 56 minutes of sunlight in Portland and even less in Lubec in the northeast, where there were only 8 hours and 47 minutes of sunlight.
Sunbeams occur because the Earth revolves around an inclined axis, so that the North Pole is directed towards the Sun and South Poles for half the year, and is directed toward the Sun in the other half of the year.
For some, the winter solstice is a time to squat indoors, preferably in front of a fireplace with a warm drink in hand and woolen socks on the feet. [1
Thousands of people gather in Stonehenge in England to watch the sunrise at the winter solstice.
Maine hosts much smaller Winter Solstice celebrations across the state, including Harpswell Heritage Land Trust's Winter Solstice Lantern Trail, the Maine Audubon Winter Solstice Celebration with Spirit Passages at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, and the Universalist Church Winter from Belfast Solstice Event.