Monday, June 21, 2010

The First Day of Summer is Here

For the Northern hemisphere (those of us above the equator) today is the longest day (visible daylight) of the year. 

For those below the equator, the opposite is true, as they experience Winter Solstice, with the shortest amount of sunlight today. The North Pole is tipped closest to the sun today, and will slowly move away until winter solstice. 

At noon today, the sun will be exactly overhead for those located on the equator. The further north you are, the lower the angle. 

In Scandinavia, Solstice Means Fun in the Midnight Sun.

Summer Solstice changes dates, because it operates on an astronomical calendar, not the printed calendar we use daily. In 2008, Summer Solstice was on June 20th. This year it's on June 21st.  An astronomical calendar actually is 365 and a quarter day. We have leap year every 4 years, except for years ending in zero, to make up for the subtle difference. 

Solstice is not the hottest day of the year. The earth takes time to warm up and time to cool. While the planet earth may be absorbing lots of sunlight today, it take several weeks to release it. So the hottest days of summer typically occur in July or August. 

Today, if you are at the Great Pyramids, the sun will set precisely between two of the pyramids if you are viewing from the Sphinx.

Summer solstice will rise just over the Heel Stone, in Stonehenge on summer solstice. 

For agriculture, summer solstice is a turning point in the growing season. 

Enjoy your first day of summer!

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