The summer solstice marks the official beginning of the summer season, and it also marks the longest day of the year.
National Geographic stated:
“This year’s summer solstice falls on Friday, June 21, at 1:04 a.m. ET, but it will start on Thursday night for places in North America west of the Central Time Zone.”
The time of the solstice depends on where you are positioned on the Earth and where you are in relation to the sun.
The Huffington Post reported:
“The summer solstice occurs when Earth’s axis is the most tilted toward the sun — the angle is known as ‘maximum axial tilt.’ As a consequence of this specific orientation, the sun rises at its most northeasterly point along the horizon and also sets at its most northwesterly point in the northern hemisphere.”
National Geographic said that the solstices are the results of Earth’s north-south axis being tilted 23.4 degrees relative to the ecliptic, the plane of our solar system.
“This tilt causes different amounts of sunlight to reach different regions of the planet during Earth’s year-long orbit around the sun,” the report said.
At high noon on the summer solstice, the sun is to appear at its highest, most directly overhead position in the sky.
Though just because they say “directly overhead,” doesn’t really mean it will be directly overhead for everyone.
The one place it will be directly overhead will be along the Tropic of Cancer, and imaginary line that circles the planet around the latitude of Cuba.
National Geographic said, “For every degree of latitude north of the Tropic of Cancer, the sun will appear to be at a corresponding degree south of the zenith, or highest point in the sky.”
“Stonehenge in the United Kingdom has been associated with the winter and summer solstices for about 5,000 years,” said National Geographic.
The Huffington Post reported that the solstice isn’t the only big celestial event this week,
“Skywatchers are gearing up for the arrival of the 2013 supermoon, which is set to peak June 22-23 and deliver the biggest, brightest moon of the year.”
So with the 2013 summer solstice finally marking the first official days of summer, are you excited to start the season?
[Image by simonwakefield via flicker]