The Sun reaches its lowest position in the sky on December 21st this year; the date of the winter solstice and officially the start of winter in the northern hemisphere.  From our latitude the Sun arcs little more than 12 degrees above Southern horizon at local noon, standing before the stars of Sagittarius.  Useful daylight amounts to just 7½ hrs - ’the shortest day’.

Latest sunrise and earliest sunset do not however occur on the winter solstice date.  The Sun sets earliest mid-month (15 or 16th) and rises latest near the end of December (27 or 28th).  The fact that within a month evenings will start to grow lighter again should be cause for some kind of celebration,