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Solstices

  • By: Edward Rice
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Solstices are points along the path of the sun's apparent orbit (also known as the ecliptic) that, when viewed from a point on Earth, mark where the sun is at its farthest from the extension of Earth's equator across the night sky, also known as the celestial equator. The term solstice literally means “sun stoppage” due to the apparently long day.

During the summer solstice, in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun appears at its farthest point above the celestial equator; that is, it is at its “highest” in the sky. The exact time of this astronomical phenomenon varies, as the calendar year does not perfectly match the solar year. Hence, although the summer solstice usually falls on June 21 or 22, the specific date does not ...

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