Summer Solstice is often referred to as the longest day of the year. On this day, the number of hours of daylight is at their maximum, while the number of hours of the night is at their minimum.

The word Solstice itself means sun-stopping, or in a layperson’s term, when the sun stops.

This year, the summer solstice will occur on 21 June 2019 at 11:54 AM, EDT. It marks the beginning of the astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The summer solstice happens when the earth’s North Pole tilts nearest towards the sun, which is at 23.4 degrees. It is also known as the Northern Solstice because it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere.

The sunlight reaches its peak usually on June 20, 21, or 22. In contrast, the Southern Hemisphere receives maximum sunlight on December 20, 21, or 22, marking it as the Winter Solstice for the Northern Hemisphere. Over time Earth’s rotation has gradually slowed down because of tidal friction and because of this, the days have been steadily getting longer.  About 4.5 billion years ago, it took Earth six hours to complete one rotation and 350 million years ago, it took 23 hours. Now there are 24 hours in a day.

How many hours in the day?

For how many hours the sunlight will reach a country on that day depends upon that country’s location. The further a place is the more sunlight they will receive.

Earth’s Aphelion point is the farthest from the sun. To determine how much sunlight a location receives every day of the year, a page operated by the US Navy integrates the principle, like if Portland, Oregon, the USA, which has a latitude of just over 45 degrees and is hence just over halfway to the North Pole from the equator, we find that the city is usually lit for 15 hours and 41 minutes, while at the time of the Summer Solstice, it is lit for 8 hours and 42 minutes.

What happens in India?

The Summer Solstice in New Delhi will take place at 9:24 PM. The day will get longer by 3 hours and 39 minutes than of the Winter Solstice.

Timings will be as follows:

Sunrise: 5:23:40 am

Sunset: 19:21:57 pm

Day length: 13 hours, 58 minutes and 16 seconds

People in India celebrate the Summer Solstice by performing mass yoga session after which thousands of yogis gather in different cities of India and practice yoga on. People also pay obeisance to the sun. This is done for happiness, love, and forgiveness.

It is also believed that the first yogi, Adiyogi, met his disciple on a Summer Solstice.

What happens at the Stonehenge, England?

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England. There is a possibility that the Stonehenge was used to mark Solstice and Equinoxes and that the Solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years at the Stonehenge.

The sun rises from behind the Heel Stone which is the ancient entrance to the stone circle from where the sunlight reaches the center of the monument. The place also holds a special significance for the members of Druid and Pagan communities who perform rituals and celebrate the Summer and Winter Solstice.

(Photo: Twitter/@Climatologist49)