Test Your Solstice IQ

How well do you know the day that marks the beginning of summer?

Content Tools

1. What does the word “solstice” mean?

2. The summer solstice, which occurs around June 21, is the longest day of the year. Why?

3. On the summer solstice, where will the sun never set?

4. In the Southern Hemisphere, June 21-22 is the first day of what season?

5. The summer solstice is the official first day of summer. When does summer end?

Answers

1. Solstice comes from the Latin, “sun stands still” (sol: sun; sistit: stands). For several days before and after each solstice, the sun appears to stand still in the sky because its noontime elevation doesn’t seem to change.

2. Because the sun gets very high in the sky over the Northern Hemisphere and remains above the horizon for more than twelve hours on that day.

3. The North Pole. This is because the North Pole is tilted toward the sun, giving it longer days than at any other time of the year.

4. Winter. When the North Pole is pointed toward the sun, the South Pole is pointed away, so regions south of the equator receive less warmth.

5. At the autumnal equinox, around September 23.

Sources:

University Center for Atmospheric Research www.windows.ucar.edu 

U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department; www.familyeducation.comwww.infoplease.com