The first day of summer 2019 arrives with the solstice on Friday, June 21st at 11:54 a.m. EDT. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this marks the longest day of the year and the moment when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, its highest point. For those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year and the arrival of winter. The solstice happens at the same moment for everyone, everywhere on Earth.
What Does The Term “Solstice” Mean?
The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). At the solstice, the angle between the Sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator (called declination) appears to stand still. This phenomenon is most noticeable at the Arctic Circle where the Sun hugs the horizon for a continuous 24 hours, thus the term “Land of the Midnight Sun.”