Correction: This article originally said that, due to the rotation of the Earth gradually slowing down over time, this winter solstice would feature the longest night ever.
I got this wrong. The Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing on an extremely long timescale, but on a shorter year-to-year basis, geologic factors can alter the speed as well.
Data indicates that the rotation speed has actually sped up slightly over the past forty years , and before that, the trend was up-and-down for most of the 20th century — so, as far as we know, the longest night in Earth’s history likely occurred in 1912. I apologize for the error. Thanks to Steve Allen and Ryan Hardy for pointing it out.
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