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Summer Solstice: What is and what will affect you?

The summer solstice is the moment when this season begins , the third of the year after winter and spring . In the northern hemisphere, this astronomical phenomenon that has given entry to the summer has occurred this Wednesday 21 of June to the 6.24 hours of the peninsular Spain (4.24 hours GMT). The summer of this year, which will last 93 days and 15 hours, will end on September 22, the day on which the equinox will begin the fall . To celebrate the solstice and the arrival of summer, Google has made a doodle.

summer solsticeWHAT IS THE SOLSTICE?

Solstice is a term that comes from the Latin words ‘Sol’ and ‘sistere’ (to remain still). During the year there are two, the summer and the winter. In the summer, it is the moment when the Sun reaches its highest altitude with respect to the semi-axis of the planet and for several days its height at midday does not change (hence the name ‘Quiet Sun’). On solstice days, and depending on the hemisphere, the hours of sunlight and the altitude of the Sun will be the maximum or minimum of the year. Thus, the summer solstice is the longest day (sun hours) and the shortest night.

This astronomical phenomenon has been a cause of celebration with festivals and rituals in numerous cultures of all time. In Spain, especially in Catalonia, it gave rise to the night of San Juan, festival of pagan origin in which bonfires or fires are lit.


The solstice occurs twice a year , one around June 21, and the other, on December 21. The date may vary as the Earth’s orbital period is not accurate. The Earth takes 325.24 days to make a turn around the Sun, which is compensated by leap years. On these dates, around June 21 and December 21, the station is changed. In the northern hemisphere, from spring to summer and from autumn to winter.


The solstices and equinoxes mark the changes of seasons in both hemispheres , although it depends on what you are varying whether it is the beginning of winter, spring, summer or autumn. At the solstice on Wednesday June 21, in the southern hemisphere happens the change of station opposite the northern hemisphere (now begins the winter).


The change of seasons is due to the inclination of the terrestrial axis , which affects the intensity with which the rays of the sun arrive to the planet.


The summer has arrived this Wednesday 21 of June (to the 6.24 hours in the mainland Spain) and will last until the 22 of September. A total of almost 94 summer days. From this Wednesday the hours of sunlight begin to diminish little by little. The sun will rise every day a little later and it will set sooner. Thus, until the next equinox (the fall in the northern hemisphere) will not match the hours with natural light and those that do not.

Summer is the warmest season of the year and is associated with holidays . The heat too can be a hazard to health . Extreme temperatures cause loss of fluids and mineral salts necessary for the body, warns the Department of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya. This fact can aggravate a chronic disease or cause dehydration and exhaustion , being especially vulnerable the people of more than 75 years. If exposure is continued, heat stroke may occur .

High temperatures cause the body to lose fluid in the form of sweat, so it is so important to drink lots of water or fruit juices – even without thirst – especially the smallest and the oldest, the most vulnerable population at this time. It is very important to drink between 1.5 and 2 liters of water a day. You should also avoid alcoholic drinks and very hot and very caloric food. With regard to recommended foods, Salut points out fruit, vegetables and vegetables as water-rich foods that help combat dehydration.

The symptoms of dehydration are headache, dry mouth, difficulty concentrating, heat intolerance, among others. Another thing that must be taken into account is physical activity, in addition to exposure to the sun. Salut warns that physical activity should be limited because intense temperature can have muscle cramps and pain. In addition, due to skin irritation from excessive sweating, rashes can occur on the skin.


As for the planets, the morning sky will be dominated by Venus throughout the summer and by Mars from mid-August, while Jupiter and Saturn will be visible throughout the season in the evening. During the summer two eclipses will occur, on August 7 there will be a partial eclipse of the Moon that will be visible in Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe (from Spain you can see its last phases), and on August 21 a total eclipse of Sun visible in the USA, observable as partial in America, Africa and, before the sun, in Europe.

The traditional Perseid star rain will happen on August 12 and its observation will be hampered in the first part of the night by the moon being in the post-full moon phase.

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