11 Things About the June Solstice

June 19, 2016

In many time zones in the Northern Hemisphere, June 20, 2016, will be the longest day of the year. Here are 11 facts you might not know about the June Solstice.

In the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the longest day of the year in terms of daylight, the June Solstice is also called the Summer Solstice. In the Southern Hemisphere, on the other hand, it is the shortest day of the year and is known as the Winter Solstice.

2. It’s the First Solstice of the Year

Solstices happen twice a year – in June and December. The June Solstice happens around June 21, when the Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. The December Solstice takes place around December 21. On this day, the Sun is precisely over the Tropic of Capricorn.

3. The Sun Seems to Stand Still

Solstice comes from the Latin words sol, meaning ‘Sun’ and sistere, meaning ‘to come to a stop or stand still’. On the day of the June Solstice, the Sun reaches its northern-most position, as seen from the Earth. At that moment, its zenith does not move north or south as during most other days of the year, but it stands still at the Tropic of Cancer. It then reverses its direction and starts moving south again.

The opposite happens during the December Solstice. Then, the Sun reaches its southern-most position in the sky – the Tropic of Capricorn – stands still and then reverses its direction towards the north.

4. It Occurs at the Same Time…

…all over the world. Technically, the June Solstice is the exact instant of time when the Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. In 2016, this will happen on June 20 at 22:35 UTC. Because of time zones differences, the event will take place on June 21 at locations that are more than one and a half hours ahead of UTC. That includes all of Europe, Russia and Asia.

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