The Summer Solstice
The summer solstice heralds the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The timing of the summer solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its northernmost point of the equator.
In 2015, the summer begins with the solstice on June 21 at 12:38 P.M. EDT. This year, Father’s Day is also celebrated on the 21st!
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).
In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer.
This summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year. See our handy Sunrise and sunset calculator for how many hours of sunlight you get in your location.
At the winter solstice, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.