The Science Geek

The June solstice will fall on June 20 or June 21 this year, depending on where you are in the world.  It is the longest day in the northern hemisphere and the day when the Sun is at its highest in the midday sky (see note). The origin of the word solstice is from the Latin words sol, which means Sun, and sistere, to stand still, because around the time of the solstice the Sun stops getting higher, appears to stand still at the same height for a few days, and then gets lower in the midday sky.

The graph below show the maximum height, or elevation, of the Sun, measured in degrees above the horizon, during the month of June. The graph is for a place 50 degrees in latitude North, roughly the same latitude as the southern tip of the British Isles.  It shows how the elevation of the Sun changes around the solstice.

Sun height June


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