Solstice comes from two Latin words – sol, meaning Sun and sistere, meaning to come to a stop or stand still, translating to ‘sun standing still.’
A solstice occurs twice a year; once in the summer and once in the winter.
The Summer solstice occurs every year when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer, and the winter solstice occurs when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn.
The Summer solstice this year will occur on Wednesday, June 21, and each year the summer solstice marks the longest day of the year; the day with the most hours of sunlight.
You can expect the sun to rise in the UK on Wednesday at 4:43 am, so you may want to make sure you have those curtains drawn to avoid being woken up extra early.
The good news for all the sun lovers out there is that there will be a total of 16 hours, 38 minutes and 18 seconds of sunlight during this year’s summer solstice. Sunset will be at 9:21 pm with the sun at its highest in the sky at 1:02 pm.
You may need to use those sunglasses but sadly there is no connection between the summer solstice and the hottest day of the year as this is subject to environmental conditions.
During the winter solstice on December 21, the sun will rise at 8:03am, and set at 15:53 which will give us a total of 7 hours, 49 mins and 44 seconds of daylight.
In the lead up to the summer solstice we gain minutes of daylight each day and directly after the solstice we begin losing seconds and then minutes of daylight until the winter solstice and the pattern reverses.
Our friends down under will be experiencing their winter solstice next Wednesday as it is the shortest day of their year, in the southern hemisphere they are experiencing their winter season.
Astronomers and scientists will use the Summer Solstice to mark the first day of summer, however for meteorologists summer begins on June 1.