Tomorrow is the first official day of summer! Say goodbye to long school days and hello to nights full of laughter, love, and thankfulness. With warm weather and more hours of daylight, you and your family can enjoy having cookouts on the back deck or watching the sunset as you roast marshmallows by the fire. As spring draws to a close, however, this means that we are approaching the summer solstice— also known as the longest day of the year. Although every day has the same 24 hours, June 21st will have more ‘day’ time, as the sun will be visible for more hours than any other occasion of the year. Here are some interesting facts about the summer solstice, and the science behind why it happens:
- The summer solstice is also referred to as the estival solstice, or midsummer. Perhaps this was the night to which Shakespeare was referring when he wrote one of his famous plays!
- This natural phenomenon occurs when a planet’s rotational axis or geographical pole is most inclined toward the star that it orbits, which in our case, is the sun.
- In the Northern Hemisphere, this solstice occurs somewhere between the dates of June 20th and June 22nd.
- However, in the Southern Hemisphere, it happens between December 20th and December 23rd, since it is on the opposite side of the globe and thus not as inclined toward the sun as is its partner hemisphere.
- It is during this time that the sun reaches its highest altitude in reference to the earth’s geographical poles.
- In some polar regions, there are periods of time when the sun is shining 24 hours a day for a period of a few days to six months surrounding the summer solstice.
- The word “solstice” comes from the Latin language. Sol means “sun” and sistere is translated “to stand still.” Therefore, the name basically means, “The sun stands still.”
As you enjoy the longest day of the year, don’t forget to tell those around you about how “the sun stands still.”
To read more about the summer solstice, visit: