Here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer begins today, June 21, 2011. The summer or June solstice has arrived and this means that today is the longest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere the opposite is true. It is the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year.

 

At the precise moment that the summer solstice occurs, the sun will reach it’s farthest point north from the celestial equator and will appear to be shining directly overhead at a point on the Tropic of Cancer (latitude 23.5 degrees north). Summer Solstice gets its name from the Latin for sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) and north of the Arctic Circle, the sun remains above the horizon for 24 hours. You know what that means…it’s sunny at night! In Northern Europe the summer solstice, also known as Midsummer, recalls ancient traditions. The Stonehenge monument in England was constructed so that observers standing inside and facing northeast can watch the sun rise directly above the Heel Stone or Sun Stone at summer solstice. Summer solstice festivals are held in some U.S. cities, such as Santa Barbara, CA and New York City. In Mexico and Central and South America Mayans still follow their ancestor’s traditions by holding ceremonies to balance the energy of the earth and to ask for abundant crops.

However, it’s all downhill from here, starting now every day gets shorter until we reach the winter solstice on December 22, 2011 at 6:12 A.M. EST.

Make the most of this year’s longest day!

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Writter Bio

Kristin

Is an American expat who has been living in Cancun, Mexico since 2001. A mother, singer, salsa dancer and now writer and community manager, she has worked in many different industries but is currently enjoying exploring the Yucatan Peninsula and sharing her expertise and experience with readers around the world. Follow Kristin on Twitter

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