SUMMER SOLSTICE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     21st May 2024        
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Context: Recently, the summer solstice marked the onset of astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere, coinciding with the day boasting the most daylight of the year.

Summer Solstice

  • About: The summer solstice marks the point when the sun is positioned farthest north, 23.5 degrees from the celestial equator.
  • Etymology: The term "solstice" originates from the Latin words "sol" for sun and "sistere" for "to stand still," indicating the sun's apparent pause in its journey.
  • There are two solstices every year: one in June and one in December.
  • Occurrence: During the 21st century, the summer solstice falls on either June 20th or 21st, varying slightly due to astronomical factors.
  • Daylight Duration: In the Northern Hemisphere, daylight length on the summer solstice varies by latitude. 

oNear the equator, it's approximately 12 hours, while at mid-northern latitudes, like 40 degrees north, it extends to about 15 hours. Beyond the Arctic Circle (66.5 degrees north), daylight persists for a full 24 hours.

  • Longest Day in the North: The North Pole's tilt toward the Sun is greatest at the solstice, so this event marks the longest day of the year north of the equator.
  • Shortest Day in the South: The day of the June solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Meaning of Solstice: The word solstice is derived from the Latin word solstitium which translates to "sun stands still."