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Summer solstice 2022: What to know in regards to the longest day of summer?

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Summer begins on Tuesday morning with the summer solstice and the longest day of the 12 months.

That’s when the Sun will appear at its northernmost point within the sky relative to the equator within the northern hemisphere: It’s also the widely recognised official starting of summer.

What’s it?

The summer solstice, just like the seasons themselves, results from Earth’s axial tilt.

Our planet spins like a top, creating day and night as one hemisphere rotates to face the Sun as the opposite rotates to face out into space. The axis on which this each day rotation occurs also tilts, with the hemisphere tilted toward the Sun experiencing a better Sun angle — the Sun appearing higher within the sky — and summer conditions.

So while Tuesday will bring the longest stretch of sunlight in 2022 to the nothern hemisphere, those within the southern hemisphere will experience their shortest day. Tuesday can be the southern hemisphere’s winter solstice and the official starting of their winter.

Photographing the Sun within the sky over the course of the 12 months, or marking the situation of a shadow forged at noon all year long, creates an analemma — a figure-eight that results from the changing apparent positions of Earth and Sun as we move through the seasons.

Taking regular images of the Sun within the sky over the course of a 12 months describe a figure-eight pattern referred to as an analemma.

(Nasa)

When is it?

It is going to occur at 5.13am EDT Tuesday. That’s the moment the Sun actually reaches its northernmost point within the sky for the 12 months, kicking off the longest day.

After Tuesday, the times will regularly grow shorter, and the nights longer, until the tip of summer on Thursday 22 September — the date of the autumn equinox within the northern hemisphere. Day and night are balanced on the equinox and can trade places thereafter, with the nights growing longer and days shorter until the winter solstice on Wednesday 21 December.

Not less than, that’s the winter solstice within the northern hemisphere. For the southern hemisphere, 21 December will mark the start of summer.

For those living on the Tropic of Cancer, 23.5 degrees North latitude, Tuesday will make their one “no shadow” day of the 12 months. The Tropic of Cancer is the furthest point North where the Sun will appear directly overhead at solar noon, in order that objects forged virtually no shadows at the moment.

The Tropic of Capricorn, at 23.5 degrees South, experiences its no shadow day on the winter solstice.

Those living on the equator, meanwhile, perceive two “no shadow” days annually, the Sun passing directly overhead at noon on the spring and autumn equinoxes.

What’s it mean?

The solstices and equinoxes were essential to ancient humans for practical and spiritual purposes, serving as calendar markers for hunting, planting and ceremonial observances. The famous stone pillars of Stonehenge, in Wiltshire England, were erected in order to border the rising Sun in the course of the solstices.

Observations of the solstices also built the muse of contemporary scientific pondering within the classical world.

In 200 BCE, the Greek philosopher Erastothenes compared shadows forged in the course of the summer solstice within the Egyptian cities of Aswan and Alexandria — situated around 24 and 30 degrees North latitude respectively — to calculate a rough circumference of the Earth. Eratosthenes calculated the planet was between 24,000 and 29,000 miles in circumference, and he wasn’t that far off of the particular figure of 24,900 miles on the equator.

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