Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Solstice

Today (at 12:06 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, to be exact) is the Summer Solstice -- or "Northern Solstice" to be globally correct (it's winter in the southern hemisphere).

I love the summer solstice. It's the point at which the Sun reaches it's highest point in the sky off of the southern horizon and takes it's longest trip of the year across the sky, making it the "longest" day of the year. More time to do stuff outside in the long twilight. Its also the first official day of summer! And that means it's almost my birthday!

The downside of this is that for the next six months the days are getting shorter. And I am not a fan of that. To be honest, it's a little depressing. [grumble grumble.]

But anywho... there's quite a bit of neat science and astronomy (not astrology) that goes into the summer solstice. Did you know that because of changes in the tilt or wobble of the Earth (currently about 23 degrees off of vertical) that the solstice has not alway occurred on the 21st of June? (Or 22nd, depending on you time zone.) It actually used to happen on the 24th of June (my birthday), hence, the traditional "Midsummer's Day" being held on that day.

So now that there's no doubt that I'm a huge dork, here's some good sites that I found for more info on this solstice stuff:
NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for this year's solstice (neat composite image and interesting links)
NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for last year's solstice (awesome Stone Henge photo with more good links)
Solstice - Wikipedia
Ancient Origins Solstice

Happy Summer!

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