It wasn’t much of a spring, so we’re hoping for better things from the new season!
The 2018 summer solstice occurs Thursday, June 21 at 7:07 a.m. At that precise moment, the sun appears to be shining directly overhead in the Great Bahamas Bank – that’s about halfway between Andros Island and central Cuba – along the tropic of Cancer. When the summer solstice occurs, the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole.
The sun is at its most powerful, and appears to stand still in the sky, and that's what solstice means in Latin. After the summer solstice, the sun’s rays will begin to light up more of the Southern Hemisphere, and days will start to shorten here in the north.
The duration of daylight is now at its most extreme. In fact, north of the Arctic Circle, which encompasses northern Alaska, far-northern Canada, most of Greenland as well as the northernmost parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, the sun now remains above the horizon for an entire 24-hour day, leading to the effect known as the “midnight sun.”
In Halifax, for comparison’s sake, our day length is 15 hours and 34 minutes on June 21. On Friday, June 22, we will have already lost three seconds. Residents of Labrador City will enjoy almost 17 hours of daylight on the day of the solstice and then lose five seconds come Friday.
I hope this doesn’t depress you, but on Dec. 21 - the winter solstice - our day length will be approximately eight hours and 50 minutes; six hours and 44 minutes less daylight than today.
Back to something more positive . . .
People around the world will celebrate the solstice in different ways. The solstice day was traditionally celebrated by dancing around bonfires so, in many cultures, fires are lit.
On the farm we were encouraged to take our shoes off and go for a walk in the wet morning grass! Grandma believed that walking barefoot in the dew on the morning of the summer solstice would keep the skin on the bottom of your feet from getting chapped. I think it was just a way of getting us out of bed!
Rise and shine and enjoy the summer!
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.