Remember that one long day that you dread every year? The day when for some reason your eyes shut faster than the sun sets? Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. Blame the sun.
This occurs during summer solstice.
This terminology is used because the sun appears as if it stops at the solstice. The solstice happens twice annually due to the Earth’s axis of rotation. In the northern hemisphere, summer solstice occurs on June 20th or 21st and in the southern hemisphere, it occurs on December 21st.
The summer solstice occurs precisely when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined toward the sun, at the degree of 23° 26′, its most extreme. In June, the tilt is toward the sun in the Northern Hemisphere, while the second yearly solstice, the winter solstice, in December, the tilt is away from the sun in the Southern Hemisphere. The day thus appears to be longer than usual during a summer solstice.
Seems like one major fault in our star, doesn’t it?!
Here are a few interesting facts about summer solstice.
- Summer solstice or the June solstice is both summer and winter solstice.
It is the longest day of the year In the Northern Hemisphere and is also called the June solstice. In the southern hemisphere, it is the shortest day of the year and is known as the Winter Solstice.
- It is the first solstice of the year.
Solstices happen twice a year – in June and December. During June Solstice, the Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. During December Solstice, the Sun is precisely over the Tropic of Capricorn.
- It normally occurs at the same time all over the world.
In 2016, this will happen on June 20 at 22:35 UTC. Because of time zones differences, the event will take place on June 21 at locations like Europe, Russia and Asia that are more than one and a half hours ahead of UTC.
- It is considered to be the first day of summer.
June Solstice technically marks the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere as far as Astronomers and scientists are concerned.
- The earth is actually farthest from the sun.
The Earth is actually farthest from the Sun during this time of the year. The Earth will be on its Aphelion a few weeks after the June Solstice.
- Earliest sunrise does not happen on this day.
The June Solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere but most places do not see the earliest sunrise of the year on this day. The earliest sunrise happens a few days before and the latest sunset takes place a few days after the June Solstice.
- The Arctic Circle has 24 hrs of sunlight.
The June Solstice is the only day of the year when places in the Arctic Circle experience daylight for 24 hours.
- Celebrations during summer solstice.
Christians and Pagans celebrate summer solstice. In Christianity, the first day of summer marks the festival of St. John the Baptist, and in Paganism they celebrate “midsummer” with bonfires and feasts.
- Warmest day of summer come long after solstice.
Some geographic areas have their warmest days after a month or even two months after solstice. This happens because it takes the Earth time to warm up. In fact, solstices do not mark the start of winter or summer but are actually the midpoint of each season.
This phenomenon is called “seasonal temperature lag”, when the land and oceans release stored heat back into the atmosphere much later than the first day of summer, the “seasonal temperature lag.”
10.The word solstice has a Latin origin.
The word solstice arises from the Latin word solstitium. Sol refers to the sun and stitium means to stop.