The summer solstice, otherwise known as the longest day of the year, is fast approaching. While celebrations would usually be taking place at Stonehenge and around the county, these are cancelled because of coronavirus.
What is the summer solstice?
In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice, or longest day of the year, takes place between June 20 and 22 each year.
This year it falls on Saturday, June 20 – when the UK will enjoy 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight.
The sun will rise at 4.43am and set at 9.21pm.
The summer solstice happens when the tilt of Earth’s axis is most inclined towards the sun and is directly above the Tropic of Cancer.
When the summer solstice happens in the Northern Hemisphere, the North Pole is tilted about 23.4° (23°27´) toward the Sun.
The solstice officially marks the beginning of astronomical summer, which ends when the autumn equinox falls on September 22.
Day and night will be at almost equal length on this day, as the sun crosses the celestial equator and moves southward into the northern hemisphere.
The shortest day of the year isn’t until Monday, December 21, known as the winter solstice.
The winter solstice lasts for seven hours and 50 minutes in Britain, which is eight hours, 48 minutes shorter than the June solstice.
On the winter solstice, the Earth’s axis is tilted furthest away from the sun directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, meaning we unfortunately only get limited daylight.
Why is it celebrated?
Revellers enjoy gathering at Stonehenge each year to celebrate, however this year it has been cancelled.
The day is significant for pagans who believe that solstice holds a special power.
Midsummer’s eve was believed to be a time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest, and when fairies were though to be at their most powerful.
Nichola Tasker, Stonehenge director at English Heritage, said: “We hope that our live stream offers an alternative opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time of year and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.”