The solstice happens tonight (6/20/13) at 10:04 pm PDT marking the longest day of the year.
Solstice brings extremes of daylight and/or darkness. Earth’s orbit around the sun – and tilt on its axis – have brought us to a place in space where our world’s Northern Hemisphere has its time of greatest daylight: its longest day and shortest night. Meanwhile, the June solstice brings the shortest day and longest night to our friends south of the equator.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, noontime shadows are shortest. On this solstice, the sun takes its most northerly path across the sky for the year. It’s the year’s highest sun, as seen from this hemisphere. Thus your noontime shadow is shortest. In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite is true. This solstice marks the lowest sun and longest noontime shadow for those on the southern part of Earth’s globe.
To many cultures, the solstice can mean a limit or a culmination of something. From around the world, the sun is now setting and rising as far north as it ever does. The solstice marks when the sun reaches its northernmost point for the year. After the June solstice, the sun will begin its subtle shift southward on the sky’s dome again. Thus even in summer’s beginning, we find the seeds of summer’s end.
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