Summer Solstice 2022 - the longest day of the year is this week
After a blisteringly hot few days it will come as no surprise we're fast approaching the Summer Solstice.
The longest day of the year falls on Tuesday, June 21, this year, the same day as in 2021. According to weather forecasters, on that day the sun will rise at 4.27am and set at 9.49pm. This is a huge 17 hours and 22 minutes of sunlight to look forward to, the longest period of daylight and the shortest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Summer Solstice marks the beginning of summer by the astronomical calculation, with the season lasting until the autumnal equinox, which this year lands on September 23. Just to confuse people, it can also be known as midsummer, because the days begin to get shorter after it has passed.
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Each year there are two solstices, one in the winter and one in the summer. Traditionally, the Summer Solstice period fell between the planting and harvesting of crops, leaving people who worked the land time to relax.
While it also signals the start of days becoming steadily shorter as the slow march towards winter begins, we won't notice the days becoming shorter for a while. The shortest day of the year is not until December 21, which is known as the Winter Solstice.
The term solstice comes from the Latin words 'sol' (sun) and 'sistere' (to stand still). It is used to describe the precise moment when the poles are tilted at their maximum toward or away from the sun. Astrologers say the sun seems to 'stand still' at the point on the horizon where it appears to rise and set, before moving off in the reverse direction.
The Summer Solstice has inspired many festivals and celebrations over the centuries. Thousands will descend on Stonehenge in Wiltshire, the world famous stone circle, including druids and pagans, to enjoy the spectacular views of the sunrise over the sacred site.
The 5,000 year old monument has a famous relationship with the Summer Solstice. The Heel Stone found on the outside of Stonehenge's main circle, lines up with the rising sun during s Summer Solstice. In the North East favoured Summer Solstice sights include Hadrian's Wall, the Northumberland Coast and even the Angel of the North.
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