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Everything you need to know about the June Solstice
20 June 2012 Solstice - summer solstice for Northern Hemisphere - winter solstice for Southern Hemisphere
Longest Day of the Year and Shortest Day of the Year
20th June 2012 is the day of the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and simultaneously the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Sun reaches its highest - most northerly point in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere and receives the most hours of daylight.
For those in the Southern Hemisphere the Sun will be at its most southerly - lowest position and receive the fewest hours of sunlight.
The Sun reaches its highest point directly over The Tropic of Cancer, 23° 26′16″ and there are 24 hours of daylight north of the Arctic Circle (66.5° n), and 24 hours of darkness south of the Antarctic Circle (66.5°s).
In June the Earth is farther away from the Sun than it is during winter and reaches its aphelion (most distant point) from the Sun during 2012 on 05 July at 03:32 hours at a distance of 152,092,424km / 945 058,50.831 miles or 945,058,50 miles 1,462.8 yards. (1.016675058 AU)
Earth reaches is perhelion (closest approach) to the Sun during 2012 0n 05 January at 00:32 hours at a distance of 147,097,207km / 914,019,66.888 miles or 914,019,66 miles 1,563.5 yards (0.983284094 AU)
To the highest precision, Earth is currently tilted 23.439 degrees as measured from the perpendicular of the Ecliptic Plane.
The Solstice occurs at the same time for everyone on Earth and marks the longest daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest daylight hours in the Sothern Hemisphere.
The Sun will be exactly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23:09 UT/GMT – Universal Time/Greenwich Meantime.
Earth’s Northern Hemisphere receives the most energy from the Sun on the Summer Solstice,
but it is not the hottest day
Water takes longer to heat than either the atmosphere or land and although Earth’s Northern Hemisphere receives the most energy from the Sun on the Summer Solstice it is not the hottest day. It takes the oceans many weeks to warm up. They are still cool from the winter and early spring, releasing the heat back about five to six weeks later after the summer solstice, making late July and early August the warmest months of the year.
The reverse is true for the Southern Hemisphere and although on 20 June the Southern Hemisphere receives the least amount of energy from the Sun; it is not the coldest day. Heat stored in the oceans from the summer still warms the surrounding regions; there is a time lag of around five to six weeks, before the seas cool, making late January and early February the coldest months of the year.
For Thousands of Years People have Celebrated the Summer Solstice
Stonehenge has been used for thousands of years. Stonehenge was built a long time before the Celts or Druids arrived in Britain and its Age is estimated to be 3100 BC.
Stonehenge was a momentous achievement built over three stages over a very long time, and tested the ingenuity and technology of an ancient people to the limit. It was first started perhaps around 4000 years ago and since its creation no one is absolutely certain why it was built.
Theories and speculations range from it being a religious site, a form of open temple were people gathered, a holy place for religious rituals and ceremonies, to those of an astronomical calendar, to animal sacrifice, or a healing place to mend the sick.
Maybe it was a combination of all those things - or maybe none; one thing for certain is that it is unlikely to have been an accident that the Keel Stone aligns with the sun rising on the summer solstice, and its ray of light shines through the columns onto the once altar stone; and on the shortest day of year of the Winter Solstice, the sun sets on the opposite side to the west. Theories and speculations remain.
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