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Summer solstice marks astronomical start of summer

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | 12:07 p.m. CDT; updated 11:36 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Sun streams past the leaves of Norton grape vines at Les Bourgeois Vineyards in Rocheport on the summer solstice Tuesday, the longest day of the year.

The astronomical start of summer is here. The sun rose at 5:44 a.m. Tuesday, and it will set at 8:37 p.m. The official moment of summer solstice — the moment when the sun is at its northernmost point — is 12:16 p.m. CDT.

Here are some resources for learning about the history and science of summer solstice:

This story from USA Today explains the specifics of summer solstice.

Do you like trivia? Here are some facts about summer solstice from msnbc.

National Geographic put together this overview of summer solstice. It also gives a glimpse into solstice history.

Part of this story explains the relationship between the solstice and climate.

Disney's Family Fun site explains a little bit of everything about the day: the science, the celebration, the history, the folklore and the modern meaning.

Here's a look at some solstice celebrations:

In England, thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge this morning to celebrate the day.

Google is celebrating the day with two solstice-related doodles, which were designed by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

Surfers have their own celebration around the time of summer solstice: International Surfing Day, which was launched seven years ago by the Surfrider Foundation and Surfing Magazine.

The big solstice celebration in Poland will happen on Saturday with Wianki, an annual cultural event in Krakow.

Jim Layden and Nancy Bartlett (partially seen) of Augusta, Maine, enjoy the first day of summer at Old Orchard Beach, Maine on Tuesday. The summer solstice results in the longest day and shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, while the longest summer day occurs on the Southern half of the earth in December. Summer officially arrived on the eastern seaboard at 1:16 p.m. Tuesday.
A plane jets across the evening sky, viewed from Cooper's Landing on Monday, the eve of summer solstice.
Revelers cheer and raise their faces skyward as the sun finally breaks through the clouds more than a couple of hours after sunrise during the summer solstice at Stonehenge, near Salisbury in England, on Tuesday. The ancient stone circle of Stonehenge is a World Heritage Site erected between approximately 3000 BC and 1600 BC, and despite years of research, the reason behind its construction remains a mystery. The summer solstice in the northern hemisphere occurs annually on June 21 and is the time at which the sun is at its northernmost point in the sky.
Ricci and Holly Beyers of Kansas City ride down the Katy Trail in Rocheport on the summer solstice. The Beyers celebrated their eighth anniversary with a getaway to Rocheport.

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