Summer Solstice – What’s it all about?

Summer Solstice

The summer solstice occurs during a hemisphere’s summer. This is the northern solstice in the northern hemisphere and the southern solstice in the southern hemisphere. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs some time between June 20 and June 22 in the northern hemisphere  and between December 20 and December 23 each year in the southern hemisphere.

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What is Summer Solstice 2016 – Longest day

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The same dates in the opposite hemisphere are referred to as the winter solstice.

When on a geographic pole, the Sun reaches its greatest height, the moment of solstice, it can be noon only along that longitude which at that moment lies in the direction of the Sun from the pole. For other longitudes, it is not noon. Noon has either passed or has yet to come. Hence the notion of a solstice day is useful.

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The term is colloquially used like midsummer to refer to the day on which solstice occurs. The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight – except in the polar regions, where daylight is continuous, from a few days to six months around the summer solstice.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most recognize the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals around that time with themes of religion or fertility.

Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

UT date and time of
equinoxes and solstices on Earth
event equinox solstice equinox solstice
month March June September December
year
day time day time day time day time
2010 20 17:32 21 11:28 23 03:09 21 23:38
2011 20 23:21 21 17:16 23 09:04 22 05:30
2012 20 05:14 20 23:09 22 14:49 21 11:12
2013 20 11:02 21 05:04 22 20:44 21 17:11
2014 20 16:57 21 10:51 23 02:29 21 23:03
2015 20 22:45 21 16:38 23 08:21 22 04:48
2016 20 04:30 20 22:34 22 14:21 21 10:44
2017 20 10:28 21 04:24 22 20:02 21 16:28
2018 20 16:15 21 10:07 23 01:54 21 22:23
2019 20 21:58 21 15:54 23 07:50 22 04:19
2020 20 03:50 20 21:44 22 13:31 21 10:02
Diagram of the Earth‘s seasons as seen from the north.
Far left: summer solstice for the Northern Hemisphere.
Front right: summer solstice for the Southern Hemisphere.

 

The summer solstice occurs when the tilt of a planet’s semi-axis, in either northern or southern hemispheres, is most inclined toward the star that it orbits.

Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23° 26′. This happens twice each year (once in each hemisphere), at which times the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or the south pole.

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 Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2016

 

 

Summer Solstice 2016

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site which has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice for thousands of years.

This important place  is seen by many as a sacred site – please respect it and please respect each other.

Open Access

English Heritage is pleased to provide free Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for Summer Solstice 2016 and ask that if you are planning to join us for this peaceful and special occasion that you follow these Conditions of Entry. These are written to ensure enjoyment and safety for everyone attending Summer Solstice at Stonehenge.
Please note to reduce risk to those attending and to the monument itself, alcohol is not permitted in the monument field during Summer Solstice. If you have any questions regarding the ceremonial use of mead please contact Solstice.Stonehenge@English-Heritage.org.uk

MONDAY 20 JUNE
Access to monument field – 7pm
Sunset – 9:26pm

TUESDAY 21 JUNE
Sunrise – 4:52am
Monument field closes – 8am

The Solstice Car Park opens at 7pm on 20th June with last admissions at 6am (or when full, if earlier) on 21st June. The car park will close at 12 noon on 21st June.

Admission, Parking and Planning Your Journey

Admission to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge is free of charge, however please note that parking fees apply.
We strongly recommend travelling by public transport or arranging to car share. Help with planning your journey and accomodation can be found on the pages below, along with other helpful advice if you are planning to come to Summer Solstice.

PARKING FEES

Cars, motorhomes, live-in vehicles & private-hire minibuses £15
Motorbikes £5
Commercial coaches & minibuses £50

Please note, car parking fees apply to all visitors to Summer Solstice, including members of English Heritage and National Trust.

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