June Solstice – A celebration for everyone!

The 21st is an exciting day that not too many people are aware of. It is an event that happens twice a year in June and December, at the exact same time all over the world. A moment we can share and celebrate with the entire world as one big nation. This event is called the Solstice.  

The name Solstice is derived from the latin name ‘Solstitium’, which means ‘sun-to stand still’. During this event, the direction of the sun stops and reverses direction moving from the north-east to the south/west, and visa versa. The June solstice marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere as it reached its highest point in the North. The event occurs at the exact same time all over the world, just when the sun overhead the Tropic of Cancer. However, due to the different time zones it seems like it happens at different times but this is actually all at the exact same moment.

The June Solstice happened in Cape Town just past midnight at 00.34am, making it the shortest day of the year. But don’t fear – luckily this means that the sun starts turning to the direction of the southern hemisphere again, so ‘days’ will only become longer from now on.

The June Solstice is considered as one of the most important days in Egypt. They believe that once the sun has arrived at its highest point, the Nile River starts rising again. This rise causes floods that were used as the main source to feed their paddocks and hence the community. It was a day of hope and celebration among all the communities living along the river.

As mentioned above, the Solstice is when the sun arrives at its highest or lowest point on earth. In June it reaches its furthest point in the north and in December in the south. Depending on where you live, it either represents that you are experiencing a great summer, or having a lovely winter. Some astronomers consider this day as the first official day of summer, and call this event the Summer Solstice.

An interesting fact is that around this time of the year, the South Pole experiences a 24 hours darkness, whilst the North Pole can enjoy a 24 hours sunlight. Crazy isn’t it!? Yet, these positions are the other way around in December once the sun is closest to the Southern Hemisphere.

Another give away is that the Solstice also means that the Earth is at its furthest position of the sun. Some might think that this is the opposite due to the vast differences of weather conditions between the Northern- and Southern Hemisphere, yet the Earth will  actually be on its aphelion soon after the June Solstice.

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