Summer Solstice Fun Facts


This Thursday, June 20, marks the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the official start of summer.

What is the SUMMER Solstice?

We have the solstices in winter and summer because of the way the Earth spins on a tilted axis. This is also the reason for changing daylight hours and seasons--the tilt gives more direct sunlight for more time, and therefore heat, during half the year in one hemisphere and then in the other hemisphere in the second half of the year. The summer and winter solstices happen at about the same day every year--for 2024, the Summer Solstice is on Thursday, June 20.

Here's a time-lapse video of the Earth from space showing the changing angle of sunlight over an entire year.

How many hours of daylight will I get?

How much sun you'll have today depends on where you live. The far north in the Arctic Circle will have 24 hours of sunlight (the Midnight Sun), while the far south in the Antarctic Circle will have 24 hours of darkness (the Polar Night). 

Solstice celebrations in the ancient world

It's believed that the Maya in Central America (2000 BCE) and the Druids in Europe (3000 BCE) recognized and celebrated the solstices and equinoxes. Mayan buildings and ballcourts and Stonehenge were aligned with incredible mathematical precision to mark the position of the Sun on these dates and to form the basis of their calendars.

If you find yourself in southern England during the solstices, you can join the party.