So, here we are, halfway through the year. How can I tell? Being in the higher latitudes in the northern hemisphere, I can tell by the amount of daylight we get (were I to measure it – the solstice at 49 N makes the day 15hours and 50 minutes or so. Above the Arctic Circle, they are enjoying 24 hours of daylight.
Just for the record (the Internet is an official record, isn’t it? Especially blogs…), I am changing the tropics of cancer and capricorn to the northern and southern tropics, respectively. Why would a secular international system continue to use astrology for its nomenclature? Plus, referring to the summer solstice in the north excludes people in the south going through their winter solstice.
so, northern solstice, and southern solstice. Equinoxes are a whole other naming problem.
I was asked by someone from near the Equator, what the significance of the Solstices and Equinoxes were. It had never been important to her, as the days where she grew up were about the same, 12 hours year-round. There are a number of ways of explaining it, for those who want a refresher.
Looking at the relative positions of the Earth and the Sun, the northern axis of the Earth would be pointing directly at the sun, thus ensuring that for one full rotation, the northern hemisphere is most fully exposed to sunlight. As the earth continues its orbit, it reaches the other extreme, where the southern axis is pointed at the sun, giving the southern hemisphere the fullest blast of sunlight.
If we look at a globe, and the imaginary lines we’ve drawn all over it, those listed above, the circles, tropics and equator all relate to the sun’s apparent position in the sky from earth. On this solstice, if one were to stand on the northern tropic (ie cancer), then at midday, the sun would be directly over your head, and you would cast no shadow. For those living further north than the tropic, the sun makes its path across the sky to the south (hence southern exposure).
On the summer solstice, the sun appears at the highest point in the sky at midday. From there on out, it gets lower and lower until it reaches the southern solstice.
So that’s where we find ourselves. If you look to the north, at the axis of the earth, it is pointing to the sun.
Also, in Canada, it’s National Aboriginal Day.