The Summer Solstice of 2017

Go Back to Summer


Wednesday at 12:24 a.m. Eastern Time marks the summer solstice.  The Northern Hemisphere will dip toward the sun, basking in its warmth for longer than at any other time. The solstice occurs because the Earth spins on a tilted axis.

1) Why do we have a summer solstice, anyway?

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice is when the northern hemosphere of the Earth is most inclined towards the sun and that is why we get the most daylight of the year. Also shows the area around the North Pole that will see 24 houers of day on the first day of summer because of the Earth’s 23.5 degree tilt.

Okay, most people know this one. Earth orbits around the sun on a tilted axis (probably because our planet collided with some other massive object billions of years ago, back when it was still being formed).

So between March and September, Earth’s Northern Hemisphere gets more exposure to direct sunlight over the course of a day. The rest of the year, the Southern Hemisphere gets more. It’s the reason for the seasons:

2) How many hours of sunlight will I get on Tuesday?

That depends on where you live. The further north you are, the more sunlight you’ll see during the solstice. Alaska-based climatologist Brian Brettschneider created this terrific guide:


Sunrise at Stonehenge on the summer solstice, 21 June 2005

The solstice is a time to recall the reverence and understanding early people had for the sky.
Some 5000 years ago, people placed huge stones in a circle on a broad plain in England and aligned them with the June solstice sunrise.
Around the same time Stonehenge was being constructed in England, two great pyramids and then the Sphinx were built on Egyptian sands
If you stood at the Sphinx on the summer solstice and gazed towards the two pyramids, you’d see the sun set exaactly between them.
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