Even though the midsummer date is when we get the most daylight of the year, it also marks the time where the days start shortening ahead of winter. The midsummer date is set based on the planet’s rotational axis. It’s decided based on the sun’s tilt towards the sun, which hits its maximum at 23° 26′ and falls between June 21 and June 22 in the northern hemisphere. This year, the summer solstice will take place on Friday, June 21. The ‘longest’ day of the year marks the middle of summer. This is because the tilt of the Earth’s axis is most aligned with the sun, providing us with the most daylight of the year. After June 22, the nights will began to close in as our planet rotates away from the sun. The date where Earth is the furthest from the star is marked by the winter solstice.
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The timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its northernmost point from the equator.
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).
In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer.
This summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year. See our handy sunrise and sunset calculator for how many hours of sunlight you get in your location.
At the winter solstice, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.
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