PDF Solstice

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You may know that the solstices and equinoxes signal the changing of the seasons on Earth, but do you remember which is which? Are they just different names.
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December Solstice

About six months later, the northern hemisphere has its winter solstice while the southern hemisphere is at its summer solstice. Find out more about the winter solstice. The times when the Sun is at its furthest from the celestial equator are called the summer and winter solstices.


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These occur at midsummer and midwinter. Since humans began using the Sun as a timekeeper, particularly when it came to the cycle in farming, the summer solstice has been marked with varying degrees of importance. Perhaps most famously, the ancient monument Stonehenge has for some time been the centre of a ritual celebration. This comes from the fact the stones are lined up to frame the rising of the Sun on the solstice, perhaps suggesting a connection to the day and as a celebration of Sun.

The stones also mark the position of sunset on the winter solstice, and so may instead indicate a place to request the return of the summer months.

What is the summer solstice?

In any case, many modern day religions gather at the site to mark the occasion: it is also one of the rare times visitors are allowed to walk right up to the stones themselves. In the southern hemisphere, where the summer solstice occurs in December, the day is instead strongly associated with Christmas, having once been the day of its celebration until various calendar changes shifted the dates apart.

At two points in the year the Sun will illuminate the Northern and Southern Hemispheres equally. On these dates, there are approximately equal hours of daylight and darkness. The spring equinox occurs in March.

What's The Difference Between A Solstice And An Equinox? They're Incredibly Different

In the autumnal equinox will occur on 22 September at 1. This is why we have a leap year every four years to add another day to our calendar. For the same reason the precise time of the equinoxes are not the same each year. Generally they will occur about six hours later each year, with a jump of a day backwards on leap years. Find out more about the largest international competition of its kind. The aim was to capture the path of the sun each day between the winter and summer solstices.

As the photographic exposure of six months was so long, the result was not processed using usual dark room methods, instead it was processed digitally. The tilt of the Earth produces the seasons, including the changes in weather associated with them. When the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun, it receives more direct sunlight and for a longer portion of the day, so the temperature increases.

Similarly in winter, the reduction in sunlight hours and more glancing angle to the Sun means the air remains colder. However, just as with the air in your home, the atmosphere and, more importantly, the oceans take time to heat up. This means that even though the solstice marks the longest or shortest days and the most direct or indirect sunlight , there is a considerable lag between that and the peak of warm or cold weather. However, astronomical summer can either begin on the solstice, or, if using length of days as a guide, be centred on the solstice, depending on the situation.

You are here: Home Discover Explore by theme Summer solstice. Summer solstice. When - and what - is the summer solstice? When is the summer solstice ?

The Sun's Position

On the June solstice, the midnight sun is visible weather permitting throughout the night, in all areas from just south of the Arctic Circle to the North Pole. On the other side of the planet, south of the Antarctic Circle there's Polar Night, meaning no Sunlight at all, on the June solstice.

Equinox and Solstice

Even though most people consider June 21 as the date of the June solstice, it can happen anytime between June 20 and June 22, depending on which time zone you're in. June 22 solstices are rare - the last June 22 solstice in UTC time took place in and there won't be another one until The varying dates of the solstice are mainly due to the calendar system — most western countries use the Gregorian calendar which has days in a normal year and days in a Leap Year.

A tropical year is the time it takes the Earth to orbit once around the Sun. It is around After the June solstice, the sun follows a lower and lower path through the sky each day in the Northern Hemisphere until it reaches the point where the length of daylight is about 12 hours and eight to nine minutes in areas that are about 30 degrees north or south of the equator.

Areas 60 degrees north or south of the equator have daylight for about 12 hours and 16 minutes.


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  • Earth does not move at a constant speed in its elliptical orbit. The consolation in the Northern Hemisphere is that spring and summer last longer than autumn and winter. Try our Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map to find the best time and location to see shooting stars from the Draconid meteor shower. In many Northern Hemisphere cultures, the June solstice is associated with holidays, feasts and celebrations. All rights reserved. Menu timeanddate.