The summer solstice — the official beginning of summer — arrives at 6:09 p.m. in Columbia, and Wednesday is the longest day of the year. Here are some facts about the solstice and a look at how people celebrate the day and the season.
NEW YORK — The official start of summer brought temperatures in the high 90s to the Eastern Seaboard on Wednesday, setting records in some spots and getting awfully close in others, with people wilting at graduation ceremonies, students trying to learn in sweltering classrooms and authorities warning folks to check on elderly neighbors.
The hot spell arrived right on time — on the longest day of the year — in a region that's home to some of the nation's most densely populated cities. Record temperatures were recorded at all three New York City-area airports, along with Connecticut's Bradley International Airport and the cities of Burlington, Vt., and Houlton, Maine, according to the National Weather Service.
Meteorologist Joe Rao wrote an article for MNSBC that not only explains the effects of the summer solstice but actually provides some interesting science fun facts. Here are a few highlights:
- The summer solstice is when the sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky. After that, it begins heading south.
- The solstice signals the summer heat to come, but it is not the hottest day of the year. Because of the Earth's tilt and the angle of the sun, the hottest days will actually be coming in July.
- The earliest sunrise and the latest sunset do not coincide with solstice. The year's earliest sunrise already happened June 14 and the latest sunset won't be until June 27. Check it out here at the National Weather Service website.
Puppets, pagans and parties
Forbes put together a collection of how people all over the world celebrate the solstice.
- In Santa Barbara, Calif., they celebrate with a huge parade filled with floats, puppets and more than 100,000 spectators.
- In England, the Stonehenge Summer Solstice is a tradition where druids, pagans and people just looking to party gather to celebrate the longest day of the year.
- And that's just two places. Find out how people celebrate the solstice in New Mexico, Scandinavia and New York.
Not that you couldn't have started on your summer dalliances already, but just in case you were waiting for a certain astronomical phenomenon to kick off your summer, here is a guide to what Columbia has waiting for you compiled by Vox Magazine.
Supervising editor is Frank Russell.