As Earth orbits the sun, it tilts 23.5 degrees on its axis. Our summer solstice occurs when Earth's northern hemisphere faces toward the sun most directly.
Why isn't the longest day of the year also the hottest you might wonder?
Even though Earth's oceans and atmosphere soak up the most rays on the summer solstice, it takes them several weeks to re-radiate that energy back to us.
Why does the solstice occur?
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), because it appears the sun stops at the solstice. The solstice happens twice annually due to the Earth’s axis of rotation.
How is the solstice celebrated?
The solstice marks the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means flip-flops, beach trips and barbecues. In southern England, thousands flock to Stonehenge to see the sun rise from the vantage point of the 4,000-year-old solar monument.
The summer solstice is also a time of celebration for Christians and Pagans. In Christianity, the first day of summer marks the festival of St. John the Baptist, and in Paganism followers celebrate what they call "midsummer" with bonfires and feasts.
After today, the days get shorter by about a minute each day.
FIRST DAY OF SUMMER FORECAST
Warming up quickly to the upper 80s and lower 90s. Scattered showers and storms develop this afternoon. Strongest of the storms will produce heavy downpours, frequent lightning and gusty winds.
Have a great day!
-Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist