Thursday's Winter Solstice makes it official: the cold season is taking over!

Thanks to the tilt of planet Earth and the slightly elliptical orbit we take around the sun, December 21st marks the point where the North Pole is facing furthest away from the sun.

It makes Thursday the "shortest day of the year" by the minutes of sunshine (slightly over 10 hours in total) across the Northern Hemisphere.Technically, the Solstice is a point in time -- 10:28 a.m. CST -- and not an all- day affair, but you can celebrate however you like.

Also known as the start of calendar (or astronomical) Winter, we note the lowest sun angles of the year out there during the noon hour as explained by Chief Meteorologist Burton Fitzsimmons in the above video.

For the Southern Hemisphere, it's the start of Summer.