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The Longest Day

This article first appeared in the 6/12/20 edition of the Davis Enterprise

The Longest Day

Illumination of Earth by Sun on the day of Summer Solstice on Northern Hemisphere. Image by Przemyslaw "Blueshade" Idzkiewicz

The Longest Day

By Sara Thompson

Special to the Enterprise


Almost exactly six months ago was the Northern Hemisphere's Winter Solstice and next week we will have our Summer Solstice on Saturday, June 20.  The word "solstice" comes from the Latin words sol and sistere, or sun and to stand still respectively.  The Summer Solstice marks the longest day in our Hemisphere, with daylight lasting well over 12 hours.  In places above the Arctic Circle the sun doesn't even go completely down, but rather hugs the horizon for a full 24 hours.

Our seasons are governed by the tilt of the earth pointing towards or away from the sun.  The Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun during the summer months, with the Summer Solstice being the longest day of the year.  As we continue to orbit the sun, the place in which the sun rises and sets changes slightly each day, on a solstice the point on the horizon will reverse until the next solstice.  Specifically, in our hemisphere, the sun's path will get lower and lower in the sky until the solstice in December.  It will continue to be warm through the rest of the summer and early fall but will eventually begin to cool down as our tilt begins to point away from the sun.

Historically, some cultures celebrated the June solstice much like they did during the Winter.  The Summer Solstice occurs during the middle of the growing season in many places, so it is celebrated along with Midsummer celebrations.  Many midsummer celebrations around the world are still celebrated around the Solstice in June.


Explorit's coming events:


•       Explorit Science Center has been providing hands- on science opportunities in Davis for 38 years!  Like many small businesses the closures have had a significant impact on our income.  Now is a great time to consider a donation to help Explorit continue to educate and inspire the scientists of tomorrow:


•       Continue to support Explorit during this uncertain time by becoming a member.  Membership grants you free visits to Explorit’s regular public hours, discounts on events, camps, and workshops, and gives you ASTC benefits.  For more information or to purchase or renew your membership visit or call Explorit at 530-756-0191.


•       We are still taking Summer Science Camp registrations and have a few spaces still available.  We are monitoring the situation surrounding COVID-19 and recommendations for health and safety.  Modifications to space and class size may occur to ensure the health and safety of campers.  Registration available online at


•       To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Explorit will be closed until public health restrictions have been lifted or eased.  Our staff is working remotely and will be answering emails, please contact us at with any questions.  We are not currently accepting recycled material donations.



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