Summer Solstice 2019: When is the longest day of the year and why do people go to Stonehenge?
21 June 2019, 12:37
Today marks the summer solstice, aka, the longest day of the year.
Each year, the summer solstice falls around the 21 June.
It's the longest day of the year - giving us up to 17 hours of daylight.
But what is it exactly, and why do people go to Stonehenge? Here's the lowdown...
What is the summer solstice?
Simply put, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year.
It officially marks the last of spring, and the start of summertime.
It usually falls on the 21 June each year, treating those who live in the UK to a good 16hours+ of daylight.
There is also a winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year. It occurs when the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun. It is also the reason why winter falls upon the northern hemisphere between December-February, while Australia basks in sunshine during the winter months.
What time did the sunrise today and when will it set?
The sun rose in the UK at 04:43am and will set at 21:21pm - giving us a full 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight.
Why do people visit Stonehenge?
Thousands of pagans worldwide celebrate the summer solstice in various ways.
Many of them gather to Stonehenge in Wiltshire, as it is believed to be an ancient religious site.
Stonehenge is thought to have been erected between 2000 BC and 3000 BC.
It's comprised of stone slabs, each standing at around 13 feet each, and weighing about 25 tons. They stand in a circular formation, which is one of the main reasons why people believe it has a lot of religious significance and relates to nature.
What happens around the world?
In the Artic Circle, the sun doesn't set at all, while in regions like Norway, Finland and Alaska, the summer solstice means there could be a 'midnight sun'.