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Solstice

Summer and Winter

Two times a year the Sun reaches its highest or lowest position from the equator. The days become longer or shorter. In the winter, the time between sunrise and sunset becomes shorter. In the summer, the opposite is true. This astronomical event is called the Summer Solstice or Winter Solstice depending on the season. You notice this mostly as a shortening or lengthening of the daylight during the day Although the nighttime hours are affected as well, we tend to notice the daylight more so than the night. We say that the days are longer or shorter.

The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol , meaning Sun, and sistere, meaning to stand still. Literally, ‘the sun stands still’. Twice a year, the Sun appears to stand still for a day and then starts moving again. Of course the Sun doesn’t really stand still. The illusion is due to our view from Earth as it orbits the Sun. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons.

As you might guess, the Summer and Winter Solstices are reversed depending on which hemisphere of the Earth you live on. The Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the Winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

So there you have it. The Sun stands still … not really. 😀

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