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How much do you know about the summer solstice?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Posted by
Rachel Wong

The summer solstice will occur on Saturday, June 20 this year, which marks the beginning of summer.

Here are 10 fun facts on the summer solstice:

  1. Minnesota will see between 15.5 to 16 hours of sunlight during this year’s summer solstice.

  2. Earth does not physically move closer to the sun during a solstice. It is the tilt of Earth’s axis that allows the Northern Hemisphere see the most sunlight during the summer solstice.

  3. After the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere will gradually lose sunlight during the day until the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

  4. The area north of the Arctic Circle sees 24 hours of continual sunlight during summer solstice.

  5. The word “solstice” has Latin origins, meaning “sun stands still.”

  6. The summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere happens on the same day as the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. June solstice would probably be a more accurate term for the “summer solstice.”

  7. During the summer solstice, the North Pole gets approximately 30 percent more energy from the sun than the equator.

  8. It takes around six weeks for the Earth’s surface temperature to catch up with the sun, since Earth has a high specific heat. That is why the Northern Hemisphere does not reach peak temperatures during the summer solstice, despite getting high amounts of sunlight.

  9. Ancestors coined the name Tropic of Cancer because the sun was in the constellation of Cancer. Around midday on summer solstice, sunlight directly hits the Tropic of Cancer.

  10. Many people celebrate summer solstice around the world. Since Stonehenge lines up with solstices, some people trek to Stonehenge to see the sunrise for summer solstice.

Sources:

Forbes, How Much Daylight Will You Receive on Summer Solstice?
Discover Magazine, 20 Things You Didn’t Know about the Summer Solstice
EarthSky, All You Need to Know: June Solstice 2018
Mental Floss, 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Summer Solstice
NASA Visible Earth, Seeing Equinoxes and Solstices from Space
National Geographic, First Day of Summer: Four Things to Know about the Summer Solstice
SciJinks, What is a Solstice?

 
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