Storm Team 10: Summer arrives tonight!
Editor's note: Hi everyone this is Mark Searles...my fantastic summer intern from Lyndon State College, Madison Rodgers, wrote this blog on tonight's solstice. Wanted to share it with all of you...enjoy!!
July 21st, 2017
Summer arrives early Wednesday morning!
Which means the Summer Solstice is as well! What is that you may ask? The summer solstice is an event that occurs every year when we are furthest from the sun, and where the Earth’s mid point between the North Pole and the Equator, also known as the Tropic of Cancer, is directly angled to the sun. This event usually occurs between June 20th and 22nd, which this year it will land on June 21st at 12:24 am!
When the Summer Solstice occurs in the Northern Hemisphere the longest day and the shortest night of the year occurs. Some times people confuse the solstice with the equinox, which occurs in the fall and spring months. They differ because with an equinox the daytime is the same length as the nighttime with the sun directly over the equator.
You may think that right after the summer solstice the temperatures would sky rocket bringing warm summer days, sadly that is not the case. Even though it is the longest day of the year and the sun is directly over the northern hemisphere, we do not feel the warmth until a good month or so after. This is because of the oceans. Water has high specific heat, which means it takes a lot longer for it to heat up or cool down opposed to land. The Earth is covered by about 71% ocean water therefor taking about 6 weeks to catch up and bring some warmer temperatures.
Giving a little history about the summer solstice, the word solstice is actually from the Latin meaning ‘sun stands still’, it is believed that when the sun appears to be standing still in the sky for a few days before and after the solstice occurs.
courtesy Stanford Solar Center
The image above is of the Bighorn Medicine Wheel in Lovell, WY, every year the summer solstice’s sunrise and sunset is lined up with two paths of the stones. Which is very fasinating. The Medicine Wheel sits on top of a plateau where it is believe that hundred of years ago a stranded man had built it. However still to this day no one quite knows why the wheel is there or what its actual purpose is.
Many people tend to get upset when the summer solstice begins because after the first day of summer the days begin to get shorter as fall approaches. However some people do not!
In Europe, thousands of people join at Stonehenge which is an ancient pre-historic site, which has been the place of worship and celebration at the time of the summer solstice. It is known that if you stand in the right spot you will see the sun rise right inside the monument.
So for all you Astronomy and or History lovers you may want to visit these amazing historic sites and celebrate, or even go to Alaska where they have a baseball game at midnight because the sun will never set on this amazing day ahead.