It's summer solstice time. What does that mean?

It's summer solstice time. What does that mean?


The moon rises behind Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, on June 20, 2024. On the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun rises in perfect alignment with the Heel Stone and Altar Stone of Stonehenge's 5,000-year-old circle. This alignment reflects the ancient builders' understanding of the solar calendar and suggests that Stonehenge could have served as a calendar or shrine to important dates and events - a tradition that continues to be observed every year.

The moon rises behind Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, on June 20, 2024. On the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun rises in perfect alignment with the Heel Stone and Altar Stone of Stonehenge's 5,000-year-old circle. This alignment reflects the ancient builders' understanding of the solar calendar and suggests that Stonehenge could have served as a calendar or shrine to important dates and events – a tradition that continues to be celebrated every year. | Photo credit: Getty Images

It's time for summer to begin – and so is the full moon.

Learn about the summer solstice, which occurs in the Northern Hemisphere on June 20.

What is the summer solstice?

The Earth rotates on an inclination as it revolves around the sun. The summer solstice occurs for the upper half of the Earth when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted the most toward the sun. It is also the longest day and the shortest night of the year.

Around this time, the Southern Hemisphere is tilted farthest from the sun, and the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year occur.

Six months later, the two parts will switch places: the Northern Hemisphere will have the winter solstice, and the Southern Hemisphere will have the summer solstice.

What is the equinox?

The equinoxes mark the start of spring and autumn, and occur when the Earth's axis and orbit are aligned so that both hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight.

Spring begins with the vernal equinox on March 19, and fall begins with the autumnal equinox on September 22.

What is the Strawberry Moon?

This year's summer solstice brings a gift: the first full moon of summer, called the Strawberry Moon. The moon won't be pink or red: Its name comes from several indigenous tribes who noticed that its timing coincided with the strawberry harvest.

On Friday evening, cast your gaze southeast to catch a glimpse of the full Moon peeking over the horizon.



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