The Summer Solstice

Each year, the timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21 in North America, depending on your time zone.

The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).

In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer. In the winter, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.

The Sun is directly overhead at its most northern point at “high-noon” on the summer solstice, creating more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere on this day then any other.

Everyone loves summer! Filled with trips to the beach, sunny skies, and lazy days, summer is the time of year when the weather gets its warmest.

What are signs of summer? Temperatures rise. The water levels in ponds, lakes, and rivers drop. Lightning bugs brighten the night sky. Nature’s efforts in the spring to fully bloom prove fruitful as the green leaves of various trees shake and rattle in the cool summer breezes and flowers grace our gardens.

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