Summer solstice: The longest day of the year, June 21

The summer solstice, also known as the June solstice, will occur today, marking the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere.

Summer solstice is regarded as the midpoint of the summer season and is also known as ‘midsummer’ in many parts of the world.

The name is derived from two Latin words: ‘Sol’ (Sun) and ‘Sistere’ (to stand still). The summer solstice usually occurs between June 20 and 22.

This year, it coincides with the International Day of Yoga and World Music Day (June 21). In the northern hemisphere, the Summer Solstice will occur at 2:43 p.m. (Indian Standard Time).

Whereas this astronomical event occurs on June 20, 2021, at 10:32 p.m. CDT (UTC-5) for those in North America.

While the northern hemisphere celebrates summer solstice in June, the southern hemisphere celebrates it in December, when it is winter solstice in the north.

Fascinating facts:

  • The solstice occurred a few thousand years ago when the sun was in the constellation of Cancer (Latin for crab), and this is how the line of latitude, Tropic of Cancer, was named.
    On the June solstice, the sun reaches its northernmost point, the Tropic of Cancer, and then reverses direction and moves south again.
  • The summer solstice date rotates between June 20, 21, and 22 based on Earth’s current orbit and is not fixed because it is determined by the physics of our solar system rather than the human calendar.
  • On the summer solstice, the sun’s path across the sky is curved.
    On the day of the summer solstice, the sun raises farthest left on the horizon and sets farthest right, illuminating places in your home that would otherwise be dark.
  • The summer solstice date rotates between June 20, 21, and 22 based on Earth’s current orbit and is not fixed because it is determined by the physics of our solar system rather than the human calendar.
  • Summer solstice is also known as Midsummer or the First Day of Summer by Wiccans and other Neopagan groups, while some Christian churches observe it as St John’s Day to commemorate the birth of John the Baptist.
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