Summer solstice will occur tonight at 10:31 central time. So, what does that mean?
Summer solstice occurs when the North Pole experiences its maximum tilt toward the sun. That will occur at 10:31 tonight. That means that we had more daylight today than we will on any other day of the year. Tomorrow, the days start getting shorter. Don’t worry, I doubt you’ll notice at first, as tomorrow is only one second shorter than today (ha).
The Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees and that never changes. But on the first day of summer that tilt is toward the sun for the northern hemisphere. At the first day of winter, the North Pole is at its maximum tilt away from the sun. During the first day of fall and spring, the Earth is equally lit for all hemispheres. The diagram below may help!
The Tropic of Cancer is at 23.5 degrees north latitude. The Tropic of Capricorn is at 23.5 degrees south latitude. Since the Earth is tilted at 23.5 degrees, today is the day when the sun’s rays are 90 degrees at the Tropic of Cancer. You can see the Tropic of Cancer on the map below as the darkened dash line. That means that if you stood on the Tropic of Cancer today at noon, your shadow would be on the ground between your feet. The sun would be directly overhead.
Interestingly, that is as far north as the sun’s direct rays ever get. They don’t even reach Florida! That means that the sun’s rays are always at least slightly tilted for those of us north of the Tropic of Cancer.
Stating tomorrow, the North Pole begins tilting back away from the sun. That process will be a very slow one.
Cultures around the world still celebrate this day with feasts, bonfires, picnics, and songs. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “stitium” (still or stopped). Some Christian churches celebrate this day as being the day in which John the Baptist was born. According to the ancient Greek calendar, the summer solstice marked the one-month countdown to the summer Olympic games.
So, happy summer solstice! May the rest of our summer be a pleasant one!
I snapped the pic below this evening. The perfect sunset to end the spring season.
You all have a good night!