The Longest Day Or The First Day Of Summer!
Jan Harris, Assistant Editor
When is it?
The summer solstice is upon us: Thursday 21 June will be the longest day of 2018 for anyone living north of the equator. It is also known as the longest day and the first day of summer.
What is it?
'Solstice' comes from the Latin, 'solstitium', sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) because the path of the sun seems to come to a halt before reversing direction.
It is the time when the earth in the northern hemisphere is nearest towards the sun and so gets the most daylight of the year.
The winter solstice, which marks the shortest day of the year with the least hours of daylight, usually happens on or around 21 December in the Northern Hemisphere.
Solstices are opposite on either side of the equator, so the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa.
Who celebrates it?
Hundreds, if not thousands of people often flock to the ancient site of Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice, as Stonehenge has been a prehistoric site of worship and celebration for thousands of years.
At the summer solstice the sun rises directly above the Heel Stone which stands outside the circle of stones to the north-east.
It is said that the giant stones of Stonehenge were so positioned to align with the sunrise on the two annual solstices.
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The Longest Day Or The First Day Of Summer!, 20th June 2018, 9:15 AM