Published On: Wed, Jun 6th, 2018

Summer solstice 2018: What is summer solstice? How long is the longest day of the year? | Life | Life & Style

What is summer solstice?

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and this year it falls on June 21.

However, it can fall as early as June 20 or as late as June 22.

Thousands flock to Stonehenge to celebrate the day, as it been a place of worship and celebration for thousands of years.

English Heritage opens Stonehenge for the solstice every year, which allows members of the public a chance to see it up close.

The day is celebrated by pagans and druids, with rituals of rebirth performed throughout history on the day.

Pagans and druids gather together at the ancient monument to watch the sun rise above the Heel Stone.

The solstice occurs twice a year and is referred to as the ‘summer solstice’ and ‘winter solstice’.

For astrologists, the summer solstice marks the beginning of summer and represents the time at which the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the solstice marks the lowest sun and longest noontime shadow for those on the southern part of Earth’s globe.

It is the day of the year with the longest period of daylight, while the winter solstice – on or around December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere – is the day with the shortest period of daylight.

During the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere of Earth is tilted towards the sun resulting in increased sunlight and warmer temperatures.

This can result in continuous daylight in far northern countries such as Iceland and Norway.

How long is the longest day?

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year – the sun rises at 4.43am and sets at 9.21pm in the evening.

This equates to Britain enjoying 17 hours and 38 minutes of sunshine on June 21.

The June solstice is the exact instant of time when the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer.

In 2018, this will happen at 11.07am BST (10.07am UTC).

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