Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Today, June 20 is the Summer Solstice which means that the Sun appears the farthest north for the year.  You know how the Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees?  Well, the northern hemisphere is tilted most directly at the Sun today and we're soaking up solar energy to the max. 

But we are we tilted 23.5 degrees to?  It's two factors - our daily rotation on our axis, and our year revolution around the Sun.  Our axis is tilted 23.5 degrees to the plane of our orbit - the path we take around the Sun.  So our entire Earth spins a little on our side as we orbit the Sun. 

BTW, the word solstice means, "Sun Standing Still."  Now that doesn't mean that the Sun stops for a second or two.  Our ancestors noticed that on a few days in the summer and a few days in winter that the Sun rose from the same spot in the northeast and set over the same spot in the northwest.  Other times of year, they could see the Sun rise and set in slightly different places each day.  But not on the solstices!  So it's the Sun's Path that stands still for several days, not the Sun.  Civilizations around the world  marked these special days with monuments that tried to capture those rising and setting sun rays like at Stonehenge, Serpent Mound, Fort Ancient, and Chaco Canyon.

Go check it yourself.  See where the Sun rises and sets over the next few days and you'll see what I mean.

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