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Dr Minjae Kim on the Summer solstice

Dr Minjae Kim, Research Fellow, Department of Physics, University of Warwick, said: “The summer solstice is the day of the year when the Sun reaches its highest and northernmost position in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere, appearing at its highest position for the longest period of time. It marks the start of the summer season and the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere, while simultaneously marking the beginning of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. This year, the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurred on Thursday, June 20th, 2024 at 9:50 pm. The summer solstice occurred in the last year was on Wed, 21 Jun 2023, 3:57 pm.

“The Earth's tilt on its axis of about 23.5 degrees is likely the result of a massive impact with another large body called ‘Theia’ when Earth was young during the planet's formation billions of years ago. This tilt is what causes the seasons, as it determines the angle at which the Sun's rays strike different parts of the Earth throughout its annual orbit.

“While the solstice date can vary slightly from year to year since the Earth's orbit is not an exact 365 days, this minor variation does not affect the overall length of the seasons. The seasons are determined by the Earth's 23.5° tilted axis, which causes different regions to receive varying amounts of direct sunlight throughout the planet's annual orbit around the Sun. Despite occurring on June 20th this year, the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere will still last approximately three months, unaffected by the precise solstice date. So, (un)fortunately, this doesn't mean we get an extra day of summer.”

Thu 20 Jun 2024, 14:54 | Tags: Physics, astronomy, astrophysics