Midsummer and the Summer Solstice
June 21st brings the Summer Solstice of midsummer in the northern hemisphere. Right now we are experiencing long daylight hours and barmy summer evenings. (at least I hope we are!) the dark days of the winter seem long forgotten.
Solstice comes from Latin words for ‘sun’ and ‘to stop’ Sol and Stitium creating SOLSTICE. The sun actually seems to stop because of the increased hours of daylight (or darkness for the winter solstice). The earth is still moving around the sun but because of the earth’s axial tilt – it’s lean- the northern hemisphere is now closest to the sun benefitting from the longer hours of daylight. In some northern areas, darkness doesn’t come at all. Make an easy model to show the earth’s movement around the sun and how we get to experience different seasons.
What is Summer Solstice?
Midsummer can be seen as the general time whereas the Summer Solstice takes place on a particular day, June 21st which is often seen as being the midpoint of the summer. For an easy model to make to demonstrate the position of the sun and earth on this day go to the what is an equinox? post which demos the earth’s tilt and the passage around the sun throughout the year. Place your ping-pong ball on the summer solstice position with the tilt of the earth and see how the sun shines mainly around the top part of the ball, the northern hemisphere.