Sma' Talk Wi' T

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How Much Do You Know About The Summer Solstice?

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The summer solstice this year was on June 20th, not today. How so? Well, Dean Christopher writing for Discover’s Environmental Science page has 20 facts about the summer solstice that you may not know.

    1. Summertime, and the tiltin’ is easy. Summers are hot not because Earth is closer to the sun, but because the tilt of the Earth’s axis lets rays of sunlight hit one hemisphere more directly.
    2. During the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, we’re actually farthest from the sun, receiving 7 percent less sunlight than the Southern Hemisphere does during its summer.
    3. The summer solstice—June 20 this year—is the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day, with 24 hours of unbroken sunlight north of the Arctic Circle.
    4. Modern-day druids, taking a more traditional approach, gather at England’s Stonehenge to mark the summer solstice. Many still don Celtic attire, even though a civilization known as the Beaker People finished Stonehenge a millennium before the Celts turned up.
    5. So maybe the ancient Greeks had the right idea, pulling out all the stops for the winter solstice instead. On the festival of Lenaea, according to legend, a band of women would seize a man representing Dionysus (the god of wine-fueled revelry), rip him to shreds, and eat him.

Read all of Christopher’s 20 fun solstice factoids on this the longest day of the year. Wait, that was yesterday. A day late, a few seconds short.

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Written by smalltalkwitht

June 21, 2008 at 4:25 pm

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