December 21st marks the northern hemisphere’s astronomical beginning of winter, both the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In Edinburgh, Scotland, that means only 6 hours 56 minutes of daylight and a long 17 hours 4 minutes of night. Even with good weather — and we were lucky get several hours of blue sky and sun this time — the angle of the sun is so low to the horizon that its rays are relatively weak. I measured approximately 40,000 lx of direct sunlight near midday. As you can see from the lux chart above that is still a good level of light versus staying indoors, so do get out for some fresh air and a walk if you can!
The good news is that each successive day will begin growing ever longer and brighter as our planet continues its arc around our star, tilting northern hemisphere dwellers back towards the sun, giving us all a better chance at catching some of that extra day light. Happy winter solstice!