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How much do you know about the summer solstice?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Posted by
Rachel Wong
The longest day of the year means even more hands-on summer science at the Science Museum. Join us for rocket-building, cardboard sandal designing, flower-crown making, live music from The Jolly Pops, sun salutations, and much more at our Solstice Day Celebration!


Exploring Earth and space science and engineering: building rockets!
Photo by Keith Braafladt.


Once you've built the perfect rocket, use your feet to make it fly.
Photo by Keith Braafladt.


At the Science Museum, we specialize in showing you how to create your own summer fun using items you have lying around the house. Make your own sandals...out of cardboard!
Photo by Keith Braafladt.


Your design will be uniquely your own., and may inspire even more cardboard creations.
Photo by Keith Braafladt.


Nearly 16 hours of sunlight means plenty of time for light and shadow play.
Photo by Keith Braafladt.

The summer solstice will occur on Thursday, June 21 this year, which marks the beginning of summer. In honor of the longest day of the year, the museum is hosting a Solstice Day Celebration all day with live music, yoga instruction, and engaging activities for all ages.

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.

During the Solstice Day Celebration on Thursday, June 21 at Science Museum, you'll find a variety of activities for all ages to enjoy. The Jolly Pops will perform at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., family-friendly yoga instruction will take place at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Volunteers from the Space and Earth Informal STEM Education network will help visitors explore magnetic fields, cloud formation, rising seas, shadows and light. Kids can participate in hands-on activities and make their own t-shirt bags, flower crowns, and more. All of the festivities are included in museum admission.

Join us as we celebrate the longest day of the year!


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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