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summer solstice – this year’s longest day


Today is the summer solstice.
Celebrate it.
Go dance in the sunshine…
Or walk…
Or play…

We are in it, but few know, having been disconnected from nature and the real world. For most of human existence, people knew seasonal cycles from direct experience. They paid attention because summer, winter, spring and fall mattered.

Today experts tell them what they need to know, there’s an app for that covers much of their research, and food comes from grocery stores completely disconnected in their minds from farmers, agriculture, seasons and shipping technologies.

In our location, today is the longest day of the year.

Tonight is the shortest night of the year.

The sun will not set over The North Pole at all today.

The sun will not rise over The South Pole today.

Sunrise and sunset will be as far north today as they will ever be. Both will begin their march south, not pausing until the winter solstice reverses that direction. Notice the sunrise and sunset locations. That’s it. They go no further north EVER.

Many notice their calendar calls this “SUMMER BEGINS”, as if there is some governmental pronouncement or decree that orders up summer, much like “Veterans Day” or “Valentine’s Day”.

The picture above right explains how a year on planet Earth works. Below I attached a much more comprehensive description.

Why do we call this “the beginning of summer” when it is actually the longest day with the greatest sun exposure of the year for the northern hemisphere?

The Earth’s surface is still releasing its winter cool. Fall, winter and spring moisture has yet completed its run to the ocean or evaporation. Mild June weather will give way to months of HOT before the shorter days finally allow our side of the planet to cool back down.

A more comprehensive look, with links:

 

June Solstice: Longest and Shortest Day of the Year

The June solstice is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice the Southern Hemisphere.

The date varies between June 20 and June 22, depending on the year, and the local time zone.

Zenith Furthest Away from the Equator

A solstice happens when the sun’s zenith is at its furthest point from the equator. On the June solstice, it reaches its northernmost point and the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun, at about 23.4 degrees.

It’s also known as the northern solstice because it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Meaning of Solstice

‘Solstice’ (Latin: ‘solstitium’) means ‘sun-stopping’. The point on the horizon where the sun appears to rise and set, stops and reverses direction after this day. On the solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east and sets to the north of west, meaning it’s visible in the sky for a longer period of time.

Although the June solstice marks the first day of astronomical summer, it’s more common to use meteorological definitions of seasons, making the solstice midsummer or midwinter.

Illustration image
Stonehenge in England.
©bigstockphoto.com/dubassy

Solstices in Culture

Over the centuries, the June solstice has inspired countless festivals, midsummer celebrations and religious holidays.

One of the world’s oldest evidence of the Summer Solstice’s importance in culture is Stonehenge in England, a megalithic structure which clearly marks the moment of the June Solstice.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where the June solstice is known as the shortest day of the year, it marks the first day of astronomical winter, but the middle of winter in meteorological terms.

Midnight Sun or Polar Night?

On the June solstice, the midnight sun is visible (weather permitting) throughout the night, in all areas from just south of the Arctic Circle to the North Pole.

On the other side of the planet, south of the Antarctic Circle there’s Polar Night, meaning no Sunlight at all, on the June Solstice.

Moving to Other Seasons

Equinox and solstice illustration.
Equinoxes and Solstices

After the June solstice, the sun follows a lower and lower path through the sky each day in the Northern Hemisphere until it reaches the point where the length of daylight is about 12 hours and eight to nine minutes in areas that are about 30 degrees north or south of the equator.

Areas 60 degrees north or south of the equator have daylight for about 12 hours and 16 minutes. This is the September Equinox, the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

Earth does not move at a constant speed in its elliptical orbit. Therefore the seasons are not of equal length: the times taken for the sun to move from the March Equinox to the June Solstice, to the September equinox, to the December solstice, and back to the March equinox are roughly 92.8, 93.6, 89.8 and 89.0 days respectively.

The consolation in the Northern Hemisphere is that spring and summer last longer than autumn and winter.

Topics: Astronomy, Sun, Seasons, Calendar, Solstice, Earth