Summer Solstice Arrives: Spring’s Farewell

Summer is the most anticipated season for many. Children finish school, many parents take vacations, and beaches and pools begin to get crowded. The hottest season of the year arrives in June, although not always on the same day. We are talking about the astronomical summer, which is the one from which the exact arrival date can be calculated. Meteorological summer depends on many factors.

The astronomical summer always begins on three different calendar days: June 20, 21 or 22. In 2024, summer begins on Thursday, June 20. Throughout the 21st century, all summers will begin between the 20th and 21st, with the latest being in 2003 and the earliest in 2096.

Although it has been historically said that the San Juan’s night is the shortest night of the year, the truth is that the longest day, with more hours of sunlight, is the one that corresponds to the day summer begins, which is scientifically known as the summer solstice. In the northern hemisphere, while we welcome summer, those in the southern hemisphere are saying goodbye to autumn to celebrate the arrival of winter.

The connections between the solstice, St. John’s Day, and the magical world come from historical times, when people performed rituals next to bonfires at night or during dawn. These rituals continue to be performed today.

The summer solstice of 2024 takes place at a very specific time: 10:51 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, according to the estimate of the National Astronomical Observatory. This is the exact instant in which the Earth passes through the point in its orbit from which the sun presents its maximum northern declination.

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Astronomers study the movements of the sun to calculate the angle of the sun at noon on a specific day. They use the analemmas, which is the curve that the sun describes in the sky, in the shape of an eight, in a daily observation made from the same place. At the time of the summer solstice, the sun is at its highest point over the Tropic of Cancer, and the angle of the sun at noon is 90 degrees.

The sun appears to be migrating north during the six months before the June solstice, but when the summer solstice arrives, this movement stops before the sun begins to move south. This moment is precisely what the word solstice refers to, which comes from the Latin “solstitium” and means ‘sun still’.

Summer in 2024 will last about 93 days and 16 hours, giving way to autumn on September 22. Spring has come to an end after 92 days and almost 18 hours, while next autumn will last about 89 days and 20 and a half hours. The winter of 2024 will last just under 89 days.

It’s worth noting that the longest day of the year doesn’t necessarily have to be the hottest day of the year. In fact, it usually isn’t. In Spain, for example, the hottest day of the year is August 6, with an average temperature nationwide of 24.3°C, while the average maximum temperature is 30.7°C.

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