Friday, June 10, 2016

Supernatural Friday: Summer Solstice is Spooky Sometimes

Haunting Summer Solstice Battle
Pamela K. Kinney

Only 19% visible;
the solstice moon
looks down
on the battlefield.
except for crickets
in the humid night.
From both sides
comes pale, wisps of
shades on horseback
and many on foot.
Noise of battle erupting.
Out of sync,
no reality
Blue against gray,
Union against Confederate,
cannon fire and guns blasting.
Their ectoplasmic war began late,
All due to the
longest day
of the year
the cock crows
and phantoms
vanish with the sun.
Until the next night…

Now for some facts on the upcoming Summer Solstice:

Solstice comes from the Latin words sol, meaning 'Sun' and sistere, meaning 'to come to a stop or stand still'. Astronomers and scientists use the date of the June Solstice to mark the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. For meteorologists on the other hand, summer began almost three weeks ago, on June 1. Even though most people consider June 21 as the date of the June Solstice, it can happen anytime between June 20 and June 22. June 22 Solstices are rare - the last June 22 Solstice in UTC time took place in 1975 and there won't be another one until 2203. This is when the Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. In many Northern Hemisphere cultures, the day is traditionally considered to be the mid-point of the summer season. Many European countries hold midsummer celebrations. And though summer in the Northern Hemisphere, many believe that the earth is closest to the sun during the June Solstice. Actually, the earth is farthest from the sun at this time of the year. Our planet will be on its Aphelion a few weeks after the June Solstice.

The Northern Hemisphere has the longest day of the year in terms of daylight; the June Solstice is also called the Summer Solstice. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the shortest day of the year and is known as the Winter Solstice.  Solstices happen twice a year - in June and December. The December one takes place around December 21. On this day, the Sun is precisely over the Tropic of Capricorn.

 The sun reaches its northern-most position, as seen from the Earth. At that moment, its zenith does not move north or south as during most other days of the year, but stands still at the Tropic of Cancer. It then reverses its direction, moving south again. The opposite happens during the December Solstice. The sun reaches its southern-most position in the sky - the Tropic of Capricorn - stands still and then reverses its direction towards the north.

June Solstice happens at the same time all over the world, at the exact instant of time when the Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. In 2016, this will happen on June 20 at 22:35 UTC.Time zones differences will cause this event to take place on June 21 at locations that are more than one and a half hours ahead of UTC. That includes all of Europe, Russia and Asia.

The earliest sunrise doesn’t happen on this day either. The earliest sunrise happens a few days before and the latest sunset takes place a few days after the June Solstice.  In the Southern Hemisphere, where this day marks the Winter Solstice, the earliest sunset happens a few days before the solstice, and the latest sunrise occurs a few days after it. It is not even the hottest day of the year, the hottest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere happens a few weeks or sometimes months after the Solstice.

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