comes tomorrow, December 8, if you live at latitude 40 north, a few days later if you are farther north. As explained on the December page (54) of Astronomical Calendar 2014 and a bit more thoroughly in the “Sun, Earth, and Seasons” section (33) in Ast. Cal. 2015 (which you may have just received), this event does not coincide with the midwinter solstice of Dec. 21; and whereas daylight is really shortest at the solstice, it can seem shortest at this earliest-sunset date, because we tend to have our eyes shut at sunrise and open at sunset.
I did see sunrise today: sky, sea, and land were all various shades of gray, except that a long slit in the cloud about three degrees above the horizon shone sensationally gold-orange. If I keep seeing sunrises up to mid January, when the latest of them happens, then in that sense that will be my midwinter.
Another event on the calendar, a minor one, is that Jupiter on Dec. 9 becomes stationary – ceases the eastward movement in our sky which had been bringing it toward the star Regulus in Leo – and, because of the tiny curve in Jupiter’s path, the moment when it is nearest to Regulus is on Dec. 8 theoretically at 19 hours Universal Time. This is a kind of “appulse,” or nearest approach of two bodies, but a wide one, more than 7 degrees. Jupiter and Regulus have been the beacons pf the after-midnight sky. The stationary moment is the beginning of Jupiter’s time of greatest prominence which will culminate in its opposition on Feb. 6. And after it resumes eastward motion it will come back and pass Regulus, closely, next August. I recently learned something about Regulus (not the star but the historical person) which I don’t want to relate now.