Winter solstice 2017 Google doodle marks the shortest day of the year & official start of winter

Today’s winter solstice 2017 Google doodle brings back the animated mouse that has made an appearance on Google’s home page for each of the equinoxes and now both solstice dates.

Previously, the mouse did some spring cleaning all the way back in March for the spring Equinox, enjoyed the sunlight on a summer day during the June 21 summer solstice and prepared for the arrival of fall on September 22.

Leading to a search for “winter solstice 2017,” today’s doodle shows the mouse doing a little ice skating and playing in the snow.

“Though most refer to the solstice as an entire day, in reality, the solstice is defined as a single moment: when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn,” writes Google on its Google Doodle Blog, “This year, that moment will occur at 16:28 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). After this point in time, periods of daylight will once again begin to grow longer.”

Here are all four of this year’s seasonal doodles in the order they appeared:

Spring equinox

Summer solstice

Autumn equinox

Winter solstice

The winter solstice not only marks the official start of winter for 2017, it’s also the shortest day — and longest night — of the calendar year.