First Day of Summer: June 21 is Longest Day of the Year
Today marks the official first day of summer, also known as the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere. The longest day of the year will be welcomed with plenty of sunshine and a high of 85 degrees according to The Weather Channel, with sunset scheduled for 8:28 p.m. EDT.
The word “Solstice” derives from Latin meaning “sun” and “stand still,” suggesting that the first day of summer gets its name because the sun seems to stand still in the sky.
According to FOXNews.com, the sun will be as high in the sky as possible at 7:28 a.m. EDT and will stay in that position for a fraction of a second longer, making it the longest day of the year.
Summer solstice does not always occur on June 21, sometimes falling on June 20. This is directly dependent on the positions of sun and earth, meaning that the summer solstice marks the day that the North Pole is pointing toward the sun as much as possible.
Today will also mark the first day of winter in the southern hemisphere due to the southern half of Earth tilting away from the sun. Around December 21, the roles will reverse with winter beginning in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern.
The day is recognized as a holiday by many cultures around the world. National Geographic said the ancient Egyptians build the Great Pyramids so that the solstice sunset, when viewed from the Sphinx, sets between two of the pyramids.
Similarly located in the United Kingdom, the Stonehenge is a popular place for observes to watch the sun rise over the Heel Stone. The people of Inca, South America celebrated differently holding a ceremony in which they offered food and sacrifices of animals.
Long Island Press