Summer Solstice 2020: Why June 21 is going to be the longest day of the year

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Earth will be hosting a rare type of solar eclipse this June 21 which is coinciding with the summer solstice, or the first day of summer. June 21 also marks the longest day of the year, when we will get to witness a celestial event known as the ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse or annular solar eclipse. In India, the path of the annular solar eclipse will start near Gharsana in Rajasthan around 10:12 AM. Depending on where a person in located from the central path, the eclipse, mostly in a partial phase, will be visible between 9:56 AM to 2:29 PM, a press release from Planetary Society, India, said on Friday. The ‘ring of fire’ will be visible to people in Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand.

The Northern Hemisphere, including India, is all set to witness the longest day of the year on Sunday, June 21. According to weather.com, the sun will be at its highest position in the sky, and the shadows cast will disappear at noon if you are located in Ujjain, Gandhi Nagar and other places located along the Tropic of Cancer in India.

The solstice will be observed around 3:13 AM on June 21 in India. The day will be the longest this year in terms of more daylight hours in the 24 hour cycle. In New Delhi, the sun will rise at 05:23:47 and set at 19:21:59, clocking in a total of 13:58:12.

The word Solstice is derived from the Latin word “Sol” meaning Sun and “Sistere” meaning stationary or stand still.

The summer solstice occurs between June 20 and 22 every year.

Summer Solstice is also referred to as Midsummer, First Day of Summer, June solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the longest day of the year. This phenomenon occurs twice a year, once in the Northern Hemisphere (between June 20-22, depending on the year and time zone) and once in the Southern Hemisphere (between Dec 20-23).

How did summer get its name?

The word summer comes from the Old English word for the season, sumor and was first recorded before the 9th Century AD. Summer is related to the Dutch zomer, the German Sommer, and the Sanskrit samā meaning year. Summer became an adjective in the 13th Century and terms such as summer camp, summer school, summer resort became a part of the dictionary around the 18th Century.

Summer comes to an end at the autumnal equinox, when the sun moves south, directly above the equator. This is when the autumnal equinox gives way to a chilly fall/autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and ushers in springtime in the Southern Hemisphere.

What makes June 21 special?

On this day, the Earth will be positioned in its orbit and the North Pole is at its maximum tilt towards the Sun. The day also marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere. As the solstice takes place at the same time globally, it marks the longest day for one hemisphere, and the shortest for another.

This day also coincides with annular solar eclipse, International Day of Yoga, Father’s Day and World Music Day this year.

Summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and is celebrated across the northern hemisphere with a variety of rituals and traditions pic.twitter.com/eHjsK6gxMX

— Reuters (@Reuters) June 20, 2020

Summer Solstice Festivals: 

The Summer Solstice festival dates back to Ancient History with the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, European Pagans, Vikings and Native Americans celebrating the day in various ways.

According to summersolstice.blog, “Summer Solstice is an astronomical event, celebrated in many countries around the Globe. The celebrations related to Summer solstice are of traditional and of cultural importance for many people. Thousands of people gather at significant places to celebrate the day. People celebrate them with old rituals like bonfires, burning effigies as well as with newer ways like yoga, musical shows, dances, picnics etc.”

During the June solstice, all locations inside the Arctic Circle experience continuous daylight for 24 hours. Due to the atmospheric refraction, however, the midnight sun becomes visible for a few days prior and on June solstice from areas as far as 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of the Arctic Circle. As one moves on further north of the Arctic Circle, the duration of the Midnight Sun increases.

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