On the shortest day of the year, the sun set at 2.54pm in Shetland, 60 degrees north of the equator.
As the sun rose in fall in just a few short hours today, Scots were celebrating the winter solstice up and down the country.
Unlike our historical european ancestors who celebrated the astrological moment through a 12-day festival of Yule, today’s 2017 celebrations take the shape of sharing photographs with the whole world on social media.
The Isles of Shetland and Orkney were treated to the stark contrast of a midday sun barely limping over the horizon before retreating back down to call it a day.
Ryan Leith (@Selkie72) took some incredible pictures of the wintery skies over Shetland, as did Bob Kerr (@bob_kerr).
Although the pagan celebrations of Yule and the Winter Solstice are from Scandanavian and Germanic cultures, Scotland has it’s own history with the shortest day.
The late neolithic Maeshowe chambered cairn on Orkney is around 5,000 years old. As the solstice approaches, the tilt of the earth lines up with the carefully crafted entrance tunnel to allow the sunset’s rays to pierce through the mound to the back wall.
This lasts for a few weeks, before the axis of the earth realigns next December.