Good morning solstice: Sunshine lasts 14 hours and 54 minutes today


Welcome to the longest day of the year.

There will be 14 hours and 54 minutes of daylight on today’s summer solstice, a cause for traditional celebrations around the globe.

The solstice is marked when the sun’s direct rays hit the northernmost point above the Equator, shining right above the Tropic of Cancer.

The earth’s 23.5 degree tilt is the reason for the seasons worldwide, and when the sun hits its northernmost point many consider it the beginning of summer. That happened at 12:24 a.m. today.

Conversely, in the southern hemisphere, today is the winter solstice as the sun’s rays fall on the point farthest from the Tropic of Capricorn, or 23.5 degrees south.

“A solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth,” said Deborah Byrd, editor-in-chief of EarthSky News. .

While no world body has designated an official day do start each season, different schools of thought and traditions define them, Byrd added.

The Summer Solstice is “perhaps the most widely recognized day upon which summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere,” she said.

But in meteorological circles summer begins June 1 and runs through August. The solstice mark for the season is considered an astronomical event.

Sunrise is comes up across the Chesapeake Bay at 5:41 a.m. Wednesday, and sunset will be at 8:35 p.m.

But neither time is the earliest sunrise or latest sunset of the year.

The earliest sunrise of 2017 came on June 13 at 5:39 a.m. the latest sunset won’t come until June 27 at 8:35 p.m., and will continue to set at that time through July 3.

The day’s length will shorten incrementally, by a minute every day or three, until the Winter Solstice at 11:27 a.m. on Dec. 21.

On that shortest day of the year there will be nine hours and 25 minutes of daylight, some five hours and 28 minutes less light than today.

The solstice is call for ritual celebration, some traditions going back centuries.

In Greece people have made the trek up Mount Olympus on the Summer Solstice for some, 2,500 years, according to Travel and Leisure magazine. Some old Greek calendars consider the solstice the first day of the year.

At Stonehenge, the great stone circle built 2,500 to 3,000 years ago in England, thousands gather to welcome the sunrise which breaks dawn immediately over the heel stone of the compound. Modern druids and folks of many other traditions spend hours dancing and drumming the day away.

In Reykjavik, Iceland , where there is no sunset this time of year, the Secret Solstice music festival draws thousands for 72 hours straight of music and revelry.

The celebration is called Wianki in Poland and gets its name from the pagan ritual of floating handmade wreaths down the Wisla River, but has evolved into the Feast of Music a huge concert drawing up to 150,000 people.

The Sao Jao Festival in Porto, Portugal is a giant street festival with music, food, and a strange tradition – participants hitting each other over the head with plastic hammers or garlic flowers.

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