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A guide to the summer solstice, from Stonehenge to the earth’s tilt

The summer solstice takes place on the Stonehenge in the United Kingdom in 2016.

(Stonehenge Stone Circle)

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, rejoice! The summer season officially will begin on Thursday, thanks to the summer solstice.

The summer solstice, which marks the official start of the season, brings the longest day and the shortest night of the year for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, while those living in the Southern Hemisphere will experience the opposite.

Here is what you need to know before the summer comes.

We have the solstices and the seasons thanks to the earth’s tilt

The earth’s rotation axis tilted about 23.5 degrees. That means that different parts of the earth receive different amount of sunlight throughout the year, resulting in seasons and the solstices.

In June, the Northern Hemisphere is tipped more toward the sun than at any other time during the rotation of the earth during the whole year. This action results in a summer solstice for those living north of the equator.

The more north you live, the longer you’ll receive sunlight. In fact, as Vox noted, the sun is not completely in the arctic circle during this event.

By contrast, the Southern Hemisphere gets the most sunlight in mid-December. During that time, the northern Hemisphere experiences the winter solstice, or the shortest day of the year, while those who live south of the equator, the longest day of the year.

During the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, it is not the hottest

While the Northern Hemisphere may receive a lot of sunlight on the summer solstice, that does not mean that it makes it the hottest day of the year.

Robert Howell, an astronomer at the University of Wyoming, used the analogy of a furnace to better explain why this is.

“If you think about turning an oven, it takes a long time to warm up,” Howell, told National Geographic in 2017.

“And then you turn it off, it takes a while for it to cool down. It is the same with the Earth,” he continued.

While the earth absorb a lot of light that day, it takes weeks for the heat — which means the hottest day of the year comes later in the summer, in July or August, according to the magazine.

Stonehenge was probably used to mark the solstices

While much about the Stonehenge, the famous stone monument, located in the United Kingdom, remains a mystery, some scientists believe that it was used to mark the solstices when it was built about 5000 years ago.

The reason for this belief? On the morning of the summer solstice, the sun rises and touches the structure of the “Alter Stone” right in the centre, according to the Vox.

This image gives an idea of what this may have looked like thousands of years ago.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

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