Summer solstice 2022: All you need to know about the longest day of the year

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On Tuesday, we will witness the summer solstice or the June solstice, i.e. the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere.  June solstice also marks the onset summer season in the Northern Hemisphere and winter season in the Southern Hemisphere. For those in North America, this astronomical event occurs on June 20 at 10:32 p.m. CDT (UTC-5) while for the rest, it usually happens on June 21, 2021, at 03:32 UTC.

This year, the June solstice is expected to fall on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 9:14 UTC (4:14 a.m. CDT) and is caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and its motion in orbit around the Sun.

Why the days are longer in Northern Hemisphere and shorter in Southern Hemisphere? 

On the day of the June solstice, the north pole is tipped more directly toward the sun, and the south pole is tipped more directly away from the sun. Hence the days are longer in Northern Hemisphere and shorter in Southern Hemisphere.

Interesting facts:

The word “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” (i.e. sun) and “sistere” (i.e. stationary). It occurs twice a year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it happens in June and in the Southern Hemisphere, it occurs in December.

A few thousand years ago, the solstice happened when the sun was in the constellation of Cancer (Latin for crab) and that’s how the line of latitude, Tropic of Cancer was named.

On the June solstice, the sun reaches its northernmost position, reaches the Tropic of Cancer and stands still before reversing direction and moving south again.

Midsummer night festivities are organised in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland during the summer solstice.

Based on Earth’s current orbit, the summer solstice date rotates between June 20, 21 and 22 and is not fixed since it depends on the physics of our solar system and not on human calendar.

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