In this post:
Some facts about the Summer Solstice,
The analemma Video, Ancient Solstice Celebrations,
SOLSTICE TRADITION by Paul Winter, Quotes by R. Buckminster Fuller,
Is this the longest day in Earth’s entire history?, and a few thoughts from me…
Longest day in the north – shortest day in the South.
The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. So soak up some of those direct sunrays (safely, of course) and celebrate the start of summer with some solstice thoughts. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the shortest day, but still a day to soak up some thoughts…..
- THIS YEAR THE SUMMER SOLSTICE FALLS ON JUNE 21, 2019. The summer solstice always occurs between June 20 and June 22. However, because the calendar doesn’t exactly reflect the Earth’s rotation, the precise time shifts slightly each year. For 2019, the Sun will reach its greatest height in the sky for the Northern Hemisphere on June 21 at 11:54 a.m. Eastern Time
- THE NAME COMES FROM THE FACT THAT THE SUN APPEARS TO STAND STILL. The term “solstice” is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because the Sun’s relative position in the sky at noon does not appear to change much during the solstice and its surrounding days. The rest of the year, the Earth’s tilt on its axis—roughly 23.5 degrees—causes the Sun’s path in the sky to rise and fall from one day to the next.
- THE HOT WEATHER FOLLOWS THE SUN BY A FEW WEEKS – You may wonder why, if the solstice is the longest day of the year—and thus gets the most sunlight. The temperature usually doesn’t reach its annual peak until a month or two later. It’s because water, which makes up most of the Earth’s surface, has a high specific heat, meaning it takes a while to both heat up and cool down. Because of this, the Earth’s temperature takes about six weeks to catch up to the Sun.
- PAGANS CELEBRATED THE SOLSTICE WITH SYMBOLS OF FIRE AND WATER. In Paganism and Wicca, Midsummer is celebrated with a festival known as Litha. In ancient Europe, the festival involved rolling giant wheels lit on fire into bodies of water. This was to symbolize the balance between fire and water. OR
Solstices were noticed a long time ago……………..
IN ANCIENT EGYPT, THE SOLSTICE HERALDED THE NEW YEAR.
In Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice preceded the appearance of the Sirius star. The Egyptians believed this was responsible for the annual flooding of the Nile that they relied upon for agriculture. Because of this, the Egyptian calendar was set to start the year to coincided with the appearance of Sirius, just after the solstice.
IN ANCIENT CHINA, THE CHINESE HONORED THE YIN ON THE SUMMER SOLSTICE.
In ancient China, the summer solstice was the yin to the winter solstice’s yang—literally. Throughout the year, the Chinese believed, the powers of yin and yang
waxed and waned in reverse proportion to each other. At the summer solstice, the influence of yang was at its height, but the celebration centered on the impending switch to yin. At the winter solstice, the opposite switch was honored.
IN ANCIENT GREECE, THE SOLSTICE FESTIVAL MARKED A TIME OF SOCIAL EQUALITY.
The Greek festival of Kronia, which honored Cronus, the god of agriculture, coincided with the solstice. The festival was special from other annual feasts in that slaves and freemen participated in the festivities as equals.
The two great celestial milestones of the year, the Summer and Winter Solstices, are perhaps humanity’s most ancient ritual observances. People paused at these times to reflect upon the journey of life, with its trials, blessings, hopes, and promise.
The word ‘solstice’ comes from the Latin ‘sol’ (sun) and ‘stitium’ (to stand still). Summer Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its northernmost point from the equator and seems to pause before reversing its course; at the Winter Solstice the Sun attains its southernmost point and, once again, seems to stand still before turning back.
The Sun, our great golden star, is the source of our life. Each of our lives is a multi-faceted journey with the Sun. On one level, we are cycling through each day and night, as the Earth rotates from dawn to dawn in the light of the Sun. On another, we are traveling through each year, moving 584 million miles by the Earth as it swings around the Sun from one Summer Solstice to the next.
Simultaneously, we are riding with the Sun as our entire Solar System travels within the Milky Way galaxy, which itself is one of the dozen galaxies in what astronomers call our Local Group. And this whole Local Group of galaxies, in turn, is revolving around the Virgo Cluster of 2000 galaxies, 53 million light-years distant from us. Making music at Solstice is one way to celebrate our amazing journey. …In reality, the journey is right now, wherever we are. And when we are listening, each moment is the beginning.
Paul Winter , the saxophonist, composer and bandleader founded Living Music as the recording context for his ensemble, the Paul Winter Consort, and his community of colleagues, which includes some of the world’s finest jazz, world, and classical musicians, along with notable voices from the great symphony of wildlife.
We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.R. Buckminster Fuller
- THE EARTH IS ACTUALLY AT ITS FARTHEST FROM THE SUN DURING THE SOLSTICE. You might think that because the solstice occurs in summer that it means the Earth is closest to the Sun in its elliptical revolution. However, the Earth is actually closest to the Sun when the Northern Hemisphere experiences winter and is farthest away during the summer solstice. The warmth of summer comes exclusively from the tilt of the Earth’s axis, and not from how close it is to the sun at any given time.
- SUMMER SOLSTICE IS NOT EXCLUSIVE TO EARTH All the planets in our solar system have summer solstices. Mars’s solstice occurs a few days after Earth’s in June. On Uranus, the summer solstice happens once every 84 years. The next one will occur on October 9, 2069. Each season lasts for 21 years. Talk about a never-ending winter!
What do we look like from out there?
The Solstices are those days when many of us stop for at least a few minutes to think about the Big Picture. We do this as the longest or shortest day of the year comes and goes.
We are exploring our universe. Have you ever thought that the Universe is watching us? Watching what we are doing on planet Earth and what is happening here. Is the Universe laughing at Earth at present? Is the Universe asking if Humans are going to continue to mess up what they have? The Universe knows that it works with “what there is”. It compensates with the changes it is given… It is pure Chemistry and Energy….. Is the Universe watching how we humans are using our Chemistry and Energy and watching the changes we have made?
Now there is one outstandingly important fact regarding Spaceship Earth, and that is that no instruction book came with it.R. Buckminster Fuller
Is this the longest day in Earth’s entire history?
Probably not, although it’s close. And the reason why is quite interesting.
Ever since the Earth has had liquid oceans and a moon, its rotation has been gradually slowing over time. This is due to tidal friction. That means that over very, very long periods of time, the days have been getting steadily longer. About 4.5 billion years ago, it took Earth just six hours to complete one rotation. About 350 million years ago, it took 23 hours. Today, of course, it takes about 24 hours. And the days will gradually get longer still.
Given that, you’d think 2018 would be the longest day in all of history. But while it’s certainly up there, it doesn’t quite take top honors.
That’s because tidal friction isn’t the only thing affecting Earth’s rotation; there are a few countervailing factors. The melting of glacial ice, which has been occurring since the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago (and is now ramping up because of global warming), is actually speeding up Earth’s rotation very slightly, shortening the days by a few fractions of a millisecond. Likewise, geologic activity in the planet’s core, earthquakes, ocean currents, and seasonal wind changes can also speed up or slow down Earth’s rotation.
When you put all these factors together, scientists have estimated that the longest day in Earth’s history (so far) likely occurred back in 1912. That year’s summer solstice was the longest period of daylight the Northern Hemisphere has ever seen (and, conversely, the 1912 winter solstice was the longest night we’ve ever seen).
Eventually, the effects of tidal friction should overcome all those other factors, and Earth’s days will get longer and longer as its rotation keeps slowing (forcing timekeepers to add leap seconds to the calendar periodically). Which means that in the future, there will be plenty of summer solstices that set new records as the “longest day in Earth’s history.”
I look for what needs to be done. After all, that’s how the universe designs itself.R. Buckminster Fuller
One Reply to “A Day to think about the Whole Thing – Solstice 2019”
Great issue, Lesley. I love it.