The summer solstice, also known as the longest day of the year, falls on June 21 this month – marking the return of brighter evenings for all of us.
Whether you’re making the most of your annual leave or just want to jot down a few more evening plans on the calendar, there’s plenty to do to make the most of those long summer days.
Also known as midsummer or summer solstice, it’s the day with the longest sun exposure – a good sign for anyone suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or looking to get some extra vitamin D.
Read below to find out everything you need to know about summer, the solstice, the traditions and meaning of Stonehenge – and how to celebrate it in lockdown.
What is the summer solstice and when is it?
In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs between June 20th and 22nd every year.
This year it falls on Tuesday 21 June – when the UK will enjoy 16 hours and 43 minutes of daylight. The sun rises at 4:43 a.m. and sets at 9:22 p.m.
The solstice officially marks the beginning of astronomical summer, which ends when the autumnal equinox falls on September 22nd.
Day and night are almost equal on this date as the sun crosses the celestial equator and moves south into the northern hemisphere.
What happens during the summer solstice?
There are two solstices every year – one in winter and one in summer. The summer solstice occurs when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is most tilted towards the Sun and is directly above the Tropic of Cancer.
Traditionally, the time of the summer solstice fell between planting and harvesting the crops, giving people who worked the land time to relax. Because of this, June became the traditional wedding month.
It may seem like a day for celebration, but it actually signals the moment when the sun’s path stops moving north across the sky and the beginning of the day grows ever shorter as the slow march toward winter begins.
However, we will not notice the shorter days for a while. The shortest day of the year is not until Monday, December 21st, which is known as the winter solstice.
At the winter solstice, the Earth’s axis, just above the Tropic of Capricorn, is tilted furthest from the Sun, bringing only a few hours of daylight.
In the southern hemisphere, the dates of the two solstices are reversed. The winter solstice occurs on the same day in June and the summer solstice occurs on the same day in December.
The term “solstice” derives from the Latin word “solstitium” which means “still sun”. Some prefer the more Teutonic term “solstice” to describe the event.
Astrologers say that the Sun appears to “stand still” at the point on the horizon where it appears to rise and set before moving in the opposite direction.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/06/20/summer-solstice-2022-stonehenge-what-date-how-celebrate-glastonbury/ When the longest day of the year falls and midsummer traditions to celebrate