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Before June 20th comes to a close, 2016 will say hello to summer and goodbye to spring. Monday, June 20th marks the first day of summer. Scientifically known as the “summer solstice,” today also marks the longest day of the year in 2016.

In Kindersley, the sun rose at 4:59am on June 20th, summer will officially set in at around 4:50pm and the sun is expected to set at 9:37pm. Here are some things you to know about the 2016 Summer Solstice.

What’s the purpose of the Summer Solstice?

The earth orbits around the sun on a tilted axis, meaning each half of the earth will see more sunlight than the other at certain points in the year. During the periods of March to September the northern hemisphere will see more sunlight than the south. While from October to April, the southern hemisphere will see more than the north. The summer solstice is the point in the year where the Earth is closest to the Sun, more so than any other point during the year.

How much sunlight will we see in Saskatchewan?

The amount of sunlight depends on how close you are to the equator. The further north you reside the more sunlight you will see, the further south, the less. In Saskatchewan we will see anywhere from 16 to 18 hours. But in Alert, Nunavut (Canada’s North Pole) the sun doesn’t set.

What happens in the southern hemisphere?

It’s basically the exact opposite. For example in Australia, today marks their shortest day of the year.

This Summer Solstice in 2016 also has a special bonus!

For the first time since 1967, the summer solstice also falls on June’s full moon. The next time the two dates will match up will be in 46 years, in June of 2062.

Why do people associate the Summer Solstice with the landmark “Stonehenge” in England?

Stonehenge is a popular tourist destination that was estimated to have been built over 5,000 years ago in Wiltshire, England. But no one really knows why. Some believe that Stonehenge was built to mark solstices and equinoxes. During the summer solstice, the sun rises just over the “heel stone” and hits the “altar stone” in the dead center. It’s a huge deal, and to this day thousands of people go to the historic site to watch the sun rise on the longest day of the year.

 

But even without all that information on the summer solstice, really all you need to know is that summer is officially here. From June 20th we have 94 days of summer until the first day of autumn falls on September 22nd, and hopefully you have plans to take advantage of every minute of sunshine.

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