If you read Adorageek’s post on Equinox, then you know that our Earth actually rotates on a tilted axis. Summer solstice, or often called midsummer, occurs when a Earth’s rotational axis, or its geographical Northern pole, is most greatly inclined toward the Sun. On the summer solstice, Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°. This happens twice each year (once in the Northern hemisphere and once in the Southern hemisphere), when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole.
The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). This year, the summer solstice in Northern hemisphere occurs on 21 June 2018, 10.07 UTC. The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight, meaning that there will be an early dawn, a long day, a late sunset, and a short night. Except in the polar regions, where daytime remains continuous for 24 hours every day during a period ranging from a few days to six months around the summer solstice.
Summer solstice is celebrated by many cultures with holidays, festivals, and rituals. The common themes are religion and fertility. In some regions, the summer solstice is seen as the beginning of summer and the end of spring. In other cultural conventions, the solstice is closer to the middle of summer.
In Northern hemisphere, summer solstice is commonly celebrated by gathering at the Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England to watch the sunrise. The Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument, built as a ring of standing stone at around 3000 to 2000 BC. It is believed that the Stonehenge was built to mark solstices and equinoxes. During summer solstice, the sun rises just over the Stonehenge’s Heel Stone and hits the Altar Stone dead center.
If you are in England during the summer solstice, make sure to head to the Stonehenge to watch the sunrise! If you are not in England during the summer solstice, you could still celebrate summer solstice by appreciating the Sun. After all, the Sun is one of the most important energy source that we have! You could also celebrate the summer solstice by starting a garden, visiting a local farm, or playing in the water. Just make sure to apply a sunscreen!