This year’s summer solstice takes place a day earlier than it’s been for the past three years, due to the fact that -2012 is a leap year—this February got an extra day, to keep our calendar year of 365 days in sync with the astronomical year, which is about 365.24 days.
The solstices are the results of Earth’s north-south axis being tilted 23.4 degrees relative to the ecliptic, the plane of our solar system. This tilt causes different amounts of sunlight to reach different regions of the planet during Earth’s year-long orbit around the sun.
Today the North Poleis tipped more toward the sun than on any other day of 2012. (The opposite holds true for the Southern Hemisphere, where today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.) As a result of Earth’s tilt, the path of the sun across the sky rises in the lead-up to the summer solstice, then begins descending for the rest of the summer.
Although it doesn’t always mean it’s the hottest day of the year. For New Englander’s here in North East U.S. We broke previous heat records across the board! 98-102 degrees F. (36 C-39 C)
Some Solstice Celebrations Around the World:
The summer solstice—also called midsummer—has long been recognized and often celebrated by many cultures around the world.
- The ancient Egyptians, for example, built the Great Pyramids so that the sun, when viewed from the Sphinx, sets precisely between two of the Pyramids on the summer solstice.
- The Inca of South America celebrated the corresponding winter solstice with a ceremony called Inti Raymi, which included food offerings and sacrifices of animals, and maybe even people.
- And perhaps most famously, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom has been associated with the winter and summer solstices for about 5,000 years. People to this day still make the Pilgrimage. Many of these Pagan’s are known as Druids.
It may not be what It once was -at least in the US- but it’s still a pretty good party! Go out and have fun! don’t forget your sunblock though!