This year, the northern summer solstice occurred on June 20 at 11:32 pm EDT (June 21 at 3:32 am UT). South of the equator, the moment marked the unofficial start of winter. And while the phenomenon took place at the same time around the world, local hours varied due to timezones. Here's everything you need to know.
The natural phenomenons keep on coming. We had the first total lunar eclipse since 2019, followed by a beautiful solar eclipse. And now, we'll be honoring the longest day of the year, thanks to the summer solstice. Throughout history, the solstices marked the changing seasons, but today, meteorologists have developed other ways to track the changing weather. While they closely monitor temperature patterns, we'll let you in on the big deal behind the solstices.
Two times a year, the Earth tilts to about 23.4 degrees towards the sun. This is the solstice. Throughout March to September, the Northern Hemisphere leans more towards the sun, creating spring and summer. Thus, from September to March, the Earth tilts the other way, creating fall and winter.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite occurs. And now, on the day of the Summer Solstice, the Earth's axis leans closest to the sun, giving us the longest day of the year! At the same time, the other hemisphere experiences the shortest day of the year.
The date of the Summer Solstice always falls around June 21. Throughout history, it has been a long-awaited day. In all places of the world, from the U.K. to Egypt, statues have been erected to perfectly align with the sun's position in the sky at this special moment.
For example, take England's Stonehenge, which is over 5,000-years-old. While the purpose remains unknown, each year on the Summer Solstice, the structure's Heel Stone, which sits outside the main circle of stones, aligns with the rising sun perfectly. In Egypt, the Great Pyramids at Giza are set up the same way. Worldwide, the Summer Solstice is celebrated with dancing, yoga, romance, bonfires, prayers for health, sport, and anything else you can think of to enjoy the longest day of the year! So, grab your summer party gear and head to the backyard because today is a day to commemorate!