Although we have felt the heat already for a few weeks in Florida, and the temperatures have been well into the 90s, today will mark the official start to summer. Exactly at 6:34 p.m., the summer solstice will occur.
But what does it really mean? Simply, it all happens because of the Earth’s tilt (the tilt can be blamed on the collision of an object with the Earth many billions of years ago). As the Earth orbits the sun, the northern hemisphere gets the highest amount of sunlight between the months of March and September. The solstice marks the peak. Therefore, on June 20th, Orlando will receive 13 hours, 57 minutes and 43 seconds of daylight.
From today on, we will start to lose a couple of seconds per day, gradually increasing to a minute or so per day as we get closer to the fall equinox.
Inversely, the southern hemisphere has its winter solstice today. It will start to gain sunlight from today on until it gets to its summer solstice in December.
An interesting fact this year is that the summer solstice coincides with the full moon. This has not happened since 1967.
Native Americans used to refer to full moons in June as “strawberry moons” because it was the month when strawberries were picked. Where strawberries are not native, such as in Europe, June’s full moons were called “honey moons” or “full rose moons.”
If you are an astronomy aficionado and enjoy these type of coincidences, The Slooh Observatory is hosting a viewing party -- bring your own strawberries, though.
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