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    Summer Solstice 2023: When is it, and What Causes the Longest Day of the Year?

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    Summer Solstice 2023: The summer solstice is a remarkable event that happens every year in the northern hemisphere. It is the day when the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky and shines for the longest time. But how does this happen and what does it mean for us? Here are some facts and insights to help you appreciate this amazing phenomenon.

    What is the summer solstice?

    The summer solstice is the moment when the Earth’s axis is tilted at its maximum angle (23.4 degrees) towards the Sun, making the northern hemisphere receive more direct sunlight than any other time of the year. This happens when the Sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer, a line of latitude at 23.5 degrees north of the equator. The opposite happens in the southern hemisphere, where it is winter solstice and the shortest day of the year.

    When is the summer solstice in 2023?

    The summer solstice in 2023 will occur on Wednesday, June 21, at 10:58 a.m. Eastern Time (7:58 a.m. Pacific Time). This is the exact time when the Sun will be at its highest point in the sky as seen from the northern hemisphere. However, the solstice is not a whole day event, but a specific point in time. The date and time of the solstice vary slightly from year to year, depending on the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

    How long is the longest day of the year?

    The length of daylight on the summer solstice depends on your location on Earth. The closer you are to the North Pole, the more sunlight you will get. For example, in Fairbanks, Alaska, the sun will rise at 2:59 a.m. and set at 12:47 a.m., giving a total of 21 hours and 48 minutes of daylight. On the other hand, in Miami, Florida, the sun will rise at 6:30 a.m. and set at 8:14 p.m., giving a total of 13 hours and 44 minutes of daylight. The average length of daylight for most places in the US is between 14 and 16 hours.

    Best locations for Summer Solstice

    Why is the summer solstice not the hottest day of the year?

    You might think that since the summer solstice is when we get the most sunlight, it should also be when we get the highest temperatures. However, this is not usually the case. The hottest days of the year tend to occur in July or August, depending on where you live. This is because there is a lag between when the Earth receives the most solar energy and when it releases it back into space. The oceans and land masses absorb heat from the sun during the long days of summer and gradually release it back into the atmosphere over time. This process creates a delay between when we get maximum sunlight and when we feel maximum heat.

    How do people celebrate the summer solstice?

    The summer solstice has been celebrated by various cultures and traditions for thousands of years. It is often seen as a time of joy, fertility, abundance, and spiritual renewal. Some common ways to celebrate include:

    • Watching sunrise or sunset at a special location, such as Stonehenge in England or Machu Picchu in Peru.
    • Performing rituals or ceremonies to honor nature, ancestors, or deities.
    • Lighting bonfires or candles to symbolize warmth and light.
    • Dancing, singing, playing music, or making art to express gratitude and creativity.
    • Gathering with friends and family to share food and drinks.

    The summer solstice is a wonderful opportunity to appreciate nature’s beauty and bounty, as well as our own inner light and potential. Whether you celebrate it with a simple picnic or a grand festival, remember to enjoy this special day and welcome the new season with joy.

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