Winter trifecta: Solstice, full moon, meteor shower on Friday, Saturday

Winter trifecta: Solstice, full moon, meteor shower on Friday, Saturday

It marks the transition period at which days begin getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere and shorter in the Southern Hemisphere, and ushers in the Winter season.

Friday, Dec. 21 is technically the shortest day of the year.

Today, that means the Southern Hemisphere is pointing toward the sun and catching more rays.

The full moon will actually occur on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 12:49 p.m., according to, but it will appear full both Friday night and Saturday night to the casual stargazer.

Friday night is also the peak of the Ursid meteor shower, but a near-full moon and cloud cover will make for poor meteor-viewing conditions. This is a minor meteor shower, so people should only expect to see a few shooting stars per hour.

When viewing a meteor shower, It's important to lie flat and look straight up - taking in as much of the sky as possible, according to NASA. The best viewing with most meteor showers happens in the hours prior to sunrise (midnight to 5 a.m.) and under a dark sky.

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There are countless cultures that have recognized the winter solstice.

The date and time of Winter Solstice, featured in a special Google Doodle Friday, vary by the year, though it typically falls between December 19 and 22. In addition, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, making it colder.

People around the globe have celebrated this astronomical milestone for centuries.

In Somerset, hundreds gathered at Glastonbury Tor to mark the winter solstice - which will this evening also see the longest night of the year.

At Stonehenge, people come together to celebrate and capture the moment when the sun directly aligns with the famous stones. The treat is said to bring prosperity and unity.

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