Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Summer

What are signs of summer? Temperatures rise. The water levels in ponds, lakes, and rivers drop. Lightning bugs brighten the night sky. Nature’s efforts in the spring to fully bloom prove fruitful as the green leaves of various trees shake and rattle in the cool summer breezes and flowers grace our gardens. Summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere on June 20, 7:09 P.M. EDT.

The timing of the solstice each year depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This always happens either June 20 or June 21 in North America, though it depends on the time zone, too.

The word solstice came from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time. This also happens again at the winter solstice.

In temperate regions, the Sun rises higher in the sky throughout the day, and when its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, this causes the efficient warming called summer. In the winter, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. The rays strike the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle and create feeble winter sunlight.

The Sun hangs overhead at its most northern point at "high-noon" on the summer solstice. This then creates more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere on this day then any other of the year.

Summer Folklore and Verse:

Deep snow in winter, tall grain in summer.–Estonian proverb
When the summer birds take their flight, goes the summer with them.
If it rains on Midsummer's Eve, the filbert crops will be spoiled.–Unknown
One swallow never made a summer.
Easterly winds from May 19 to the 21 indicate a dry summer.
If there are many falling stars during a clear summer evening, expect thunder. If there are none, expect fine weather.

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