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Home > Blog > Astronomy

(Literally) The Longest Day of the Year

Be ready for a longer time of fun under the sun as the summer solstice sets in on June 22, 2015.

This annual astronomical event pertains to the longest daytime in the northern hemisphere and the opposite in the southern hemisphere where Winter Solstice will take place.

According to Engr. Dario dela Cruz, Chief of the Space Sciences and Astronomy Section of PAGASA, Summer Solstice in the Philippines will begin at 12:38 AM (Philippine Standard Time).

The said phenomenon marks the start of summer in the United States and other countries situated in higher latitudes. However, the opposite happens in the Philippines where the rainy season is just about to begin since it is near the equator.

During the Summer Solstice, the sun attains its greatest declination of +23.5 degrees and passes directly overhead at noon at a latitude of 23.5 degrees north, which is known as the Tropic of Cancer. This event marks the start of the apparent southward movement of the Sun in the ecliptic, dela Cruz added.

At this time, the sun appears at its highest elevation caused by the Earth’s tilt on its axis and its motion in orbit around the sun. This is when the northern hemisphere leans nearest to the sun.

Aside from the solstices that occur during June and December, we also experience equinoxes in the months of March and September, which result to an approximately equal duration of night and daytime. (link to past article re equinox)

The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol, which means “sun,” and sistere meaning to “stand still.” Therefore, solstice literally translates into “the sun stands still.”