The Sun reaches its lowest position in the sky on December 21st this year - the date of the winter solstice, when the Sun arcs just over 12 degrees above S horizon at local noon. The northern hemisphere is then tilted away from the Sun and useful daylight amounts to just 7½ hrs: the shortest day.

Latest sunrise and earliest sunset do not occur on solstice day however. The Sun rises latest near the end of December (27 or 28th) and sets earliest mid-month (15 or 16th).  Astronomically speaking the winter solstice also marks the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere, now there’s a cheery thought, but at least in a week or so days will start to lengthen again, Now that is a cheery thought!