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  Weekly Feature: June 20, 2004

Summer Solstice
 by Pat


At this time of year, we are fortunate to have many hours of daylight. The Sun rises earlier in the morning and sets later at night. Because it gets dark so late, we can enjoy the warm summer evenings outside playing sports, barbecuing, gardening, going to the park, or just relaxing with family and friends. Why do we have such long days in June?

June 21 is the first day of summer. On June 21, we experience the longest day of the year, which is also called the summer solstice. At this time, the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky. The word solstice comes from Latin, and its meaning is “the sun stands still.”

Since we live in the northern hemisphere, when the North Pole of the Earth points toward the Sun, we receive more sunlight, and it is summer. As the Earth moves in its orbit, the North Pole points away from the Sun. Then in December, we have the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year.

Here are some Websites where you can read more about the summer solstice.

Windows to the Universe: The Summer Solstice
Read a short scientific explanation about the longest day of the year.

Summer Solstice Celebrations: Ancient and Modern
Find out how people around the world have celebrated the summer solstice in the past and present.

Summer Solstice
Discover interesting details about the significance of the summer solstice.

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