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The Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice is the first day of the Season of Summer. On June 21 the Sun is farthest north and the length of time between sunrise and sunset in the northern hemisphere is the longest of the year.

The Sun has been climbing in the sky and on this day it stops (solstice means "standing still sun"). The hours of sunlight have been getting longer and longer each day, but after today they will start getting shorter.

As the Earth circles around the Sun, it leans about 23 on its axis like a spinning top frozen in an off-kilter position. At this time, the entire Arctic area is continually exposed to sunlight even though the Earth is rotating.

Although the actual North Pole has had continuous sunlight for over three months by now, today everywhere above the Arctic Circle has 24 hours of sunlight.

Some cities in the far north, like Hammerfest in Norway, have many days of continuous sunlight.

This day is also the first day of the Season of Winter in the southern hemisphere, and there, the length of time between sunrise and sunset is the shortest of the year. While the Arctic has sunlight, Antarctica is in the dark.

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Library: Arctic, Sky/Seasons
Links: Arctic, Sunrise & Sunset
Guide to Arctic Sunrise & Sunset
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports


Double-click any unlinked word DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
Arctic Library ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
All sorts of Arctic Maps ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
Links to related sites. ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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