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BONNIE'S GARDEN--The Summer Solstice

Today, June 20th, is the Summer Solstice.  At exactly 6:34 p.m. the sun will seem to stand still over the Tropic of Cancer before heading on its way.  This is where the word ‘solstice’ comes from—‘sol’ meaning ‘sun’ and ‘sistere’ meaning to ‘stop.’

It’s the first day of Summer—depending on who you ask.  Meterologists consider June 1 as the first day of summer, based on the temperature cycle.  Astronomers consider June 20 (or 21 or 22 depending on the year) as the first day of summer based on the position of the earth to the sun.  This is the day at which 20,000 plus people gather at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise over the center stone. 

It’s the longest day of the year.  Every day, after today, will be a minute or two shorter until the Winter Solstice.  Here, our day will be 14 hours and 45 minutes long.  In Barrow, Alaska, the sun will rise at 12:00 a.m. and set at 11:59 p.m.  For this one day, all locations inside of the Arctic circle will experience 24 hours of sunlight.  In Antarctica, all locations will experience 24 hours of darkness.

You might think that the earth is closest to the sun this time of year, but it’s actually farther away.  It is the tilt of the Northern Hemisphere towards the sun that gives us summer.

 This year’s Solstice is a rare event.  The full moon lands on the same day—an event that last happened in June of 1967 and won’t happen again until June 21, 2062.  The Algonquin Indians called the full moon in June the “Strawberry Moon” because it signaled when the fruits were ripe.  In Europe, where strawberries are not native, it was called the “Full Rose Moon” or “Honey Moon.”

And, if you want to watch this event in person, you can go to live.stooh.com where robotic telescopes will bring the action to you.  Or, you can do as I’ll do, sit out in the rocking chair on my back deck and share the sight with two kitties, a few fireflies, and several dozen mosquitoes.
Posted: 6/20/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: bonnies, garden, Solstice
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