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When and What Is the Summer Solstice?

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Solstices are opposite on either side of the equator, so the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa.

Earth's position in relation to the Sun's rays at the June solstice.
Earth's position in relation to the Sun's rays at the June solstice.

Earth's position in space at June solstice.

© timeanddate.com

Northern Hemisphere Summer Solstice

(North America, Central America, Europe, Asia, Northern Africa)

June Solstice in Washington DC, District of Columbia, USA is on
Sunday, June 20, 2021 at 11:32 pm EDT (Change city)

June Solstice in Universal Coordinated Time is on
Monday, June 21, 2021 at 03:32 UTC

Southern Hemisphere Summer Solstice

(Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southern Africa)

December Solstice in Washington DC, District of Columbia, USA is on
Monday, December 21, 2020 at 5:02 am EST (Change city)

December Solstice in Universal Coordinated Time is on
Monday, December 21, 2020 at 10:02 UTC

Rare Solstice Annular Solar Eclipse

In 2020, many locations saw a rare solstice annular solar eclipse on the same day as the June solstice. This will happen only once again this century: on June 21, 2039.

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Is It the First Day of Summer?

The Sun shining through the Stonehenge ancient monument.

Sunrise at Stonehenge at Summer Solstice.

©iStockphoto.com/AndyRoland

'Solstice' (Latin: 'solstitium') means 'sun-stopping', because the point where the sun appears to rise and set, stops and reverses direction after this day

The first day of spring, summer, fall and winter can either be defined using astronomical events like solstices and equinoxes, or they can be determined based on meteorological factors, such as average temperatures.

Over the centuries, the June solstice has inspired countless festivals, midsummer celebrations and religious holidays.

One of the world's oldest evidence of the summer solstice's importance in culture is Stonehenge in England, a megalithic structure which clearly marks the moment of the June solstice.

Topics: Astronomy, Seasons, December, June, Sun, Solstice