By: Good2GoPublished: June 19, 2015
June 21: a day that makes one think of sunshine, the beach, and a fired-up grill is also the first official day of summer. On this day every year, the sun’s rays strike directly upon the Earth’s Tropic of Cancer, a latitudinal line at 23.5 degrees north. This is the only day in the entire year when the Sun is directly overhead this area of the Earth. What does that mean for the people living on it? It means that the season of summer (or as the ancients called it, midsummer) has officially begun for those in the Northern hemisphere and the season of winter has officially begun for those in the Southern hemisphere.
What Exactly is the Summer Solstice?
The positioning of the Sun on June 21 means that the Northern hemisphere experiences the longest sunlit day of the year. After June 21 each day gets progressively shorter until the winter solstice or December 21. After December 21, the shortest sunlit day of the year, the days begin to get progressively longer again.
Just because June 21 is generally a warmer day, and longer day for the Northern hemisphere, does not necessarily mean that the Sun is closer to the Earth than normal. What makes the Sun’s contact with the Earth more intense is that the Earth’s tilt is at a degree which is more outwardly facing the Sun, making it easier for the Sun’s rays to strike down directly on the Earth’s surface. For those who enjoy specifics: the Earth’s tilt during the summer solstice is 23° 26′, which is its most extreme tilt all year long. Actually, the Sun is farthest away from the Earth on July 3. This event is known as the aphelion. The sun is, of all days, closest to the Earth on January 4, which is known as the perihelion.
Day and Night
The solstice’s effect on the poles’ periods of sunlight is more drastic than anywhere else in the world. In the Arctic Circle, there are 24 consecutive hours of daylight on June 21, while in the Antarctic Circle; there are 24 consecutive hours of pure darkness on that same day.
How is it Celebrated?
The summer solstice means many different things to many different groups of people. In ancient times, people celebrated the coming of summer with large festivals. In some societies like Ancient Greece, the summer solstice was celebrated by turning the typical social order upside down and allowing slaves to participate in the celebrations as equals to their masters. In Ancient Greece, the summer solstice also marked the one-month countdown to their Olympic games.
In Ancient China, people celebrated the longest day of the year through the honoring of femininity, the Earth, and the force of “yin”. The couples of some Celtic tribes would participate in a slightly more intense ceremony than the Chinese by jumping through the flames of a bonfire in an attempt to predict how tall that year’s crop will grow.
So many cultures celebrated the summer solstice in so many different ways that it would take an anthropology class to go through all of them. But no matter if it’s the Native Americans or the Romans or the Aztecs, all of these cultures celebrated the summertime with a similar emphasis: happiness. Even if these civilizations were remembered for their war-mongering or human sacrifice, they all took time on the first day of summer to celebrate.
In the United States, June 21 usually serves as a warning for people to brace themselves for the upcoming hottest months of the year. Warmer temperatures may be a welcome change from the harsh winters some people face, but the truth is that extreme heat, like what many experience during the summer months, can take a serious toll on your car.
Don’t put too much strain on the battery.
In the intense heat of the summer, a car’s battery can get seriously damaged. Car batteries are made from multiple components, including water, that provide for an electrical current. During the bouts of heat waves that occur throughout the summer, your car’s battery will lose its “life” much faster. When hit with intense heat, the water in the car’s battery that protects the circuits inside the battery from being exposed will begin to evaporate, causing those components to face exposure to the elements and will lead to significant wearing.
Summer may signify blue skies, relaxation, and carefree fun, but the risk of getting in a car accident is always there. Help ensure that you get the most out your car in order to get the most out your of summer. Good2Go Auto Insurance will allow you to enjoy the benefits of both. We have been providing customers with minimum coverage auto insurance for over 25 years. Get your free car insurance quote right now from Good2Go!