The first day of summer arrives with the solstice on Saturday, June 20, at 5:44 p.m. EDT. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this marks the longest day of the year (with regards to daylight) and the moment when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, its northernmost point, according to farmersalmanac.com.
For those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year and the arrival of winter. The solstice happens at the same moment for everyone, everywhere on Earth.
Looking at the extended weather forecast for the tri-county area, temperatures for June 20 are expected to reach 93 degrees with lots of sunshine.
The timing of the summer solstice is not based on a specific calendar date or time. It all depends on when the Sun reaches that northernmost point from the equator. The summer solstice can occur anywhere between June 20-22.
According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the term “solstice” comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). At the solstice, the angle between the Sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator (called declination) appears to stand still. This phenomenon is most noticeable at the Arctic Circle where the Sun hugs the horizon for a continuous 24 hours, thus the term “Land of the Midnight Sun.”
In Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice coincided with the rising of the Nile River. As it was crucial to predict this annual flooding, the Egyptian New Year began at this important solstice.
In centuries past, the Irish would cut hazel branches on solstice eve to be used in searching for gold, water and precious jewels.
Many European cultures hold midsummer celebrations at the solstice, which include gatherings at Stonehenge and the lighting of bonfires on hilltops.
How will you and your family celebrate the longest day of the year?