The summer Solstice is also known as mid-summer. It falls between June 20 and June 22, depending on the time zone. It occurs twice in every year. It happens once in Northern Hemisphere and once in Southern Hemisphere. The earth rotates on its axis, which is also called obliquity by the scientists. It is the angle between the rotational axis of the Earth and the orbital axis, or, in the same way the angle between its equatorial plane and orbital plane. It is different from orbital inclination. At an axial tilt of 0 degrees, the two axes point in the same direction. Indicating that the rotational axis is perpendicular to the orbital plane. Obliquity of the earth oscillates between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees on a 41000-year cycle. The mean obliquity of the earth is 23.43 degrees. Presently it is decreasing.
The axis of the Earth is tilted about 23 degrees, in place of being straight up and down. So when the Earth rotates on its axis, a part of it is tilted towards the sun the opposite side farther away from the Sun. Earth has seasons as the axis of the earth of rotation is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees which is relative to the orbital plane of Earth around the sun. The northern axis of the Earth is pointing the same direction in space. Simultaneously, that direction is approximately towards the star known as Polaris, the North Star. But the orientation of the tilt of the Earth with respect to the sun changes when the Earth orbits the Sun. The Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun for half of the year and away from the Sun for the rest of the year. When the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth is tilted towards the Sun, the Southern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. The region of the Northern Hemisphere gets warm due to increase in solar radiation. The rays of the sun falls directly at that region, that region experience summer. When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, less rays of the Sun falls on that region, that area remains cool and that region experience winter. Whatever seasons Northern Hemisphere experiences at a particular time, the opposite season is experienced by the Southern Hemisphere, at that point of time.
The tilt in the axis of the Earth, is highly influenced by the method the mass is distributed over the planet. In the Northern Hemisphere huge amount of land mass and ice sheets are present. This makes the Earth heavy at the top. The angle of obliquity of Earth ranges between 21.4 to 24.4 over long periods of geological time. This cycle ranges for approximately 41000 years. In 1930, a scientific theory proposed by Milutin Milankovitch highlights the idea that this cycle is though to have a main role in the formation of ice age. Presently, the earth is decreasing in obliquity. Decrease in obliquity will lead to more moderate climate. Moderate climate means summer will be cool and winters will be warm. Increase in obliquity will lead to more extreme climate. Extreme climate means summer will be more hotter and winter would be more cooler. When Earth has more cool summer, more glaciers are formed and a cool summer does not melt the winter snow faster. The distance of Earth from the sun keeps changing throughout the year. Due to the angle of tilt of Earth at 23.5 degrees with respect to the orbit around the Sun, there are seasons. Had the Earth did not tilt at all, but had orbited exactly upright with respect to the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, then there would have been very less changes in the temperature the entire year. This is because the Earth would have moved a little closer to the Sun and then again slightly a little bit away. There would be differences in temperature in different regions starting from the equator to the poles. But without the tilt, the Earth would not have the seasonal changes throughout the year.
For a particular hemisphere, there is summer solstice, when the Sun reaches the highest position in the sky, and is the day with the longest period of daylight. In Northern Hemisphere, the zone of the Arctic Circle gets continuous sunlight throughout the day, during the summer solstice. The maximum axial tilt of the Earth towards the Sun is 23.44 degrees. The declination of the Sun from the celestial equator is 23.44 degree. The summer solstice happens during summer. In Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice occurs in the month of June. Depending on the shift of the calendar, it occurs between June 20 and June 22. In Southern Hemisphere, summer solstice occurs in the month of December. It occurs between December 20 and December 23. On the same dates in the opposite Hemisphere, winter solstice occurs.
Summer solstice is celebrated in many places throughout the world. Many festivals and rituals are performed. In many nations and calendars it is marked as the beginning of the summer time. It is also associated with themes of fertility and religion. Many places also have spring ending at that time and starting of summer. The highest altitude occurs on different days for few locations on the tropics, mainly in those regions were the Sun is directly overhead, i.e., elevation is of 90 degrees at the subsolar points. Celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere are- Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in China. It is traditional holiday in the Chinese calendar. Day of Private Reflection is celebrated in Northern Ireland. That day is the day created to acknowledge and reflect upon the conflict in Northern Ireland. Jani is an annual Latvian festival celebrating summer solstice. National Aboriginal Day is celebrated in Canada. Tiregan is celebrated in Iran by splashing water, dancing. Fremont Solstice Parade and Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Parade is done in United States. World Music Day is also celebrated throughout the world.
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