36 Solstice Facts: Things to Know About Longest & Shortest Day | Kidadl


36 Solstice Facts: Things to Know About Longest & Shortest Day

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

A solstice occurs when a planet's poles are at their most extreme tilt toward or away from the star it orbits.

The summer solstice is known when the days are the longest through the year. It occurs at 12:00 am UTC on Jun 21.

The two periods during the year when the path of the Sun in the sky is furthest south in the Southern Hemisphere (December 21 or 22), or furthest north in the Northern Hemisphere (June 20 or 21)

The date of the winter solstice shows the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also known as Midsummer Day or St John's Eve. The winter solstice marks the harvest season, and it has been celebrated by ancient cultures like the Roman empire. For instance, Lucia's Day is celebrated by the Scandinavian countries during this very period.

The solstice is a time when the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky. This is when the days are getting longer and the nights shorter. It is thus the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the last day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. People say that the solstice is a wonder of the solar system. The following article will now take you through more such interesting solstice facts.

Summer Solstice Meaning

Also known as the June solstice, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and it occurs on or around Jun 21. It's also known as Midsummer Day, and in some cultures, this is a time for celebration with feasting and drinking.

The summer solstice occurs exactly when the Sun reaches its highest point above the horizon at noon. 

It has been seen that the Sun is directly overhead during the middle of the day. 

At this time in the summer solstice, the days are getting longer, but the nights are getting shorter.

According to ancient traditions, the summer solstice was the beginning of 'the heat season'. The Romans celebrated their version of the summer solstice by sacrificing animals to the gods and would then sit to feast on the meat.

The summer solstice observes the end of the vernal equinox (the first half of year) in the Northern Hemisphere and observes the start of the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.

The summer solstice is the start of the spring equinox.

Winter Solstice Meaning

When one of Earth's poles reaches its highest tilt away from the Sun, the winter solstice occurs. It is also known as the hibernal solstice. Once in each hemisphere, this occurs twice a year.

The day of the winter solstice has the shortest period of daylight. Also, it has the longest night of the year in that hemisphere as the Sun reaches its lowest elevation in the sky.

Around the winter solstice, each pole sees continuous darkness or twilight. The summer solstice is the polar opposite. 

The winter season is when the winter solstice occurs in the Northern Hemisphere. 

There occurs December solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the June solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

The term 'midwinter' is also used to refer to the winter solstice. 

The winter solstice was traditionally visible around the midpoint of winter in many temperate locations. 

However, it is now regarded as the beginning of winter in some countries and calendars. Other titles include 'winter's extreme' (Dongzhi) and 'shortest day'.

Winter solstice is not always the same day. The shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere is the Winter Solstice.

People in Ireland welcome the sunrise in Newgrange. In Seattle, USA, the Feast of Winter Solstice is held by the Fremont Arts Council every year.

December solstice, or the winter solstice, marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere. This solstice also happens to have the longest night of the year.

Relationship to Seasons

The solstices are two points in time where the Earth reaches its farthest north or south position relative to the Sun. The summer solstice occurs around June 21 in the northern hemisphere, and the winter solstice occurs around December 22. Let's read on to understand more.

Solstice means the beginning of spring and fall. 

Spring begins at the equinoxes (the point where the Sun crosses the equator) and ends at the autumnal equinox

Fall starts at the autumnal equinoctial and ends at the vernal equinox.

Most places on the planet will experience roughly equal amounts of night and day on the day of the spring Equinox, hence "Equal Night."

The December solstice occurs when the Sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.

 In the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice gets the name of the summer solstice. 

In terms of daylight, it is the year's longest day. On the other hand, the winter solstice occurs on the year's shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere.

Solstice is derived from the Latin terms sol, which means Sun, and sistere, which means to come to be still. The northernmost position is reached by the Sun on this day.

The shortest day of the year is experienced during the winter solstice.

Cultural Aspect of Solistice

The winter solstice arrives in the Northern Hemisphere around December 21. A hibernal solstice is an astronomical event that occurs when the Earth attains its maximum tilt on its axis away from the Sun, marking the longest night and shortest day of the year. (At the same time, Southern Hemisphere dwellers are experiencing their longest day and shortest night.)

These astronomical landmarks have affected human activity and annual cycles for millennia.

This yearly astronomical event has long been adored by people all across the world as a chance to bid farewell to long, dark nights and embrace the return of the Sun.

The summer solstice always falls between Jun 20 and Jun 22. However, the actual time varies somewhat each year due to the calendar's inaccuracy in reflecting the Earth's rotation.

Other Miscellaneous Facts

The summer solstice was known as the 'yin', whereas the winter solstice was known as the 'yang' in ancient China. Here are some more facts about the solstice:

The Chinese thought that the powers of yin and yang waxed and faded in reverse proportion to each other throughout the year.

The influence of yang was at its peak at the summer solstice, but the celebration focused on the impending shift to yin. The opposite switch was honored during the winter solstice.

Midnight Sun Game is a game that begins at 10 p.m. and lasts long into the next morning without the use of artificial light. The Goldpanners took over the tradition in 1960.

Because the solstice occurs in the summer, you can assume that the Earth is closest to the Sun in its elliptical revolution.

The Earth, on the other hand, is closest to the Sun during the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and farthest away during the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Summer's warmth is derived only from the tilt of the Earth's axis, not from its proximity to the Sun at any one time.

The autumnal equinox. the fall equinox, or the autumnal equinoctial point (AEP), occurs at 12:00 UTC on Sept 21. This marks the first-ever day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the last ever day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

The date corresponds to the moment when the Sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north. This happens twice a year, once around the spring equinox and again around the autumn equinox. So, there are two fall equinoxes.

At this time of the year, the Sun rises due east over the Tropic of Cancer and sets due west over the Tropic of Capricorn.


What does solstice literally mean?

It is the time in the year when the Earth is tilted nearest or farthest away from the Sun, known as the summer solstice and winter solstice, respectively. Also, the summer solstice has the earliest sunrise, and the winter solstice has the earliest sunset.

What is the shortest day of the year called?

The shortest day of the year is known as the winter solstice. The Winter solstice also has the coldest days throughout the year. You might also remember winter due to Christmas or Santa Claus and the end of evil spirits. 

Why does solstice mean Sun stop?

The fact that the Sun sets in a different spot each night (and rises in a different spot each morning) throughout the year accounts for this.

Why is New Year not on winter solstice?

New Year's Day is traditionally observed on Jan 1. The ancient two-faced Roman god Janus, after whom the month of January is also called, is the inspiration for our current New Year's Day celebration.

What is the difference between equinox and solstice?

Solstice is the period having the longest or the shortest days. In contrast, when the night and day are equally long is when equinoxes occur.

Why is solstice on different days?

The exact date of each solstice varies by a few days each year, owing to our calendar system, which counts one year as 365 or 366 days, whereas the Earth takes 365 and 1/4 days to complete a single orbit around the Sun.

Why is June 21 the longest day?

For those residing north of the Equator, June 21 will be the longest day of the year in 2021. In technical terms, this day is known as the summer solstice as it is the longest day of the summer season. The time when the Sun lies directly over the Tropic of Cancer, or more precisely, right over 23.5 degrees north latitude, causes this phenomenon.

Why is the winter solstice so important?

The winter solstice has been considered to be an important time of year in many societies since prehistory, with celebrations and ceremonies commemorating it. The progressive decline of daylight hours is reversed and begins to grow again, symbolizing the Sun's death and rebirth.

How many days does the winter solstice last?

In London, the shortest day lasts 7 hours, 49 minutes, and 42 seconds. This indicates that the day is 8 hours and 49 minutes shorter during the winter solstice than it is during the summer solstice.

Why is it called Summer Solstice?

The day that the Earth's North Pole is tilted closest to the Sun is called the summer solstice.

Written By
Joan Agie

<p>With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.</p>

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