The summer solstice occurs twice every year – once on June 20 or 21 and the second on December 21 or 22. The event marks the sky being farthest north in the Northern Hemisphere in June and farthest south in the Southern Hemisphere in December. The word ‘solstice’ originates from the Latin words ‘sol’ and ‘sistere,’ which mean sun and stand still. In 2022, the summer solstice will appear on June 21, at 9:14am UTC.
During the June solstice, the north pole is tipped directly toward the sun, causing the day in the Southern Hemisphere to be shorter. The sun reaches its northernmost position at the Tropic of Cancer, reversing direction towards the south from thereon. The sun continues its movement towards the south pole, reaching its southernmost position in late December. Therefore, the day of June solstice is longer than 12 hours in the entire Northern Hemisphere and shorter than 12 hours in the entire Southern Hemisphere.
As per experts, the Tropic of Cancer came to be the name of the line of latitude because thousands of years ago, the solstice used to occur when the sun’s position fell in the constellation of cancer. Several countries in the Northern Hemisphere, including Sweden, Finland, Norway, Spain, the US, etc., celebrate the June solstice every year like a festival. The first summer solstice of the year is also known as the Midsummer First Day of Summer. In some Christian denominations, the summer solstice is also celebrated as St. John’s Day, commemorating the birth anniversary of John the Baptist.
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