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Winter Solstice Dates & Times

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2001

Solstice literally means 'Sun Stands Still', for a few days around the time of the winter solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky in that its elevation at noon does not seem to change.

The winter solstice date is normally considered to be the 21st of December in the northern hemisphere, however at the winter solstice the position of the sun remains the same for three days.

The following are the winter solstice mid point dates and times from the U.S. Naval Observatory. The time zone used is "Greenwich Mean Time" (GMT) or "Universal Time" (UT). GMT or UT is time kept on the Greenwich meridian in London, England at longitude zero.

2001 - 21st December 19:21  GMT / UT
2002 - 22nd December 01:14  GMT / UT
2003 - 22nd December 07:04  GMT / UT
2004 - 21st December 12:42  GMT / UT
2005 - 21st December 18:35  GMT / UT
2006 - 22nd December 00:22  GMT / UT
2007 - 22nd December 06:08  GMT / UT
2008 - 21st December 12:04  GMT / UT
2009 - 21st December 17:47  GMT / UT
2010 - 21st December 23:38  GMT / UT
2011 - 22nd December 05:30  GMT / UT
2012 - 21st December 11:12  GMT / UT
2013 - 21st December 17:11  GMT / UT
2014 - 21st December 23:03  GMT / UT
2015 - 22nd December 04:48  GMT / UT
2016 - 21st December 10:44  GMT / UT
2017 - 21st December 16:28  GMT / UT
2018 - 21st December 22:23  GMT / UT
2019 - 22nd December 04:19  GMT / UT
2020 - 21st December 10:02  GMT / UT

At Newgrange in Ireland a wonderful event takes place for a few days around the winter solstice each year, the passage and chamber of the 5000 year old monument are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December.

Newgrange 2004

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2004

In 2004 the winter solstice mid point is the 21st December, however the winter solstice sunrise illuminates the passage and chamber at Newgrange for a few days around the mid point.

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2003

The Winter Solstice sunrise illuminates the passage way leading into the burial chamber of the megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange on the 21st December 2003. This wonderful  photograph by Alan Betson was printed on the front page of The Irish Times newspaper on the 22nd December 2003.

Winter Solstice 2003 @ Newgrange

Rainbow - Winter Solstice 2002

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2002

Images from the Winter Solstice at Newgrange on the 22nd December 2002. A rainbow heightened the experience of those on the outside, as the fortunate few on the inside, selected by lottery experienced the illumination of the passage and chamber.

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2001

Solstice sunrise lets lucky few gaze through window to an ancient world.

Light at the end of the tunnel: the sun makes its way into the main chamber at Newgrange during the winter solstice yesterday.

Photography by Frank McGrath.

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2001


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Rainbow at Newgrange winter solstice

Rainbow at Newgrange, winter solstice 2002

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