Summer Solstice: What Is It?

Jeanne Sager

summer sceneIt's the summer solstice today!

In case you're still in a Father's Day haze (not to mention moaning that it's Monday), that means June 21 (today) is both the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.

But what the heck is it?

Technically it's just a split second, not the whole day -- the summer solstice was at 7:28 a.m. EDT, when the sun was at its greatest distance above or below the celestial equator, "about 23 1/2° of arc."

The summer solstice is in June up here in the Northern Hemisphere, in December in the Southern Hemisphere.

After today, the days will begin shortening again, leading up to the winter solstice on December 21, the absolute shortest day of the year (when it will start back up again, lengthening the days).

On to the fun part: It's an official holiday full of revelry 'round the world, so light up the grill again:

How do you celebrate?


Image via jurvetson/Flickr

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