Summer solstice: The longest day of the year explained

Castlerigg Stone Circle
Castlerigg Stone Circle

The summer solstice takes place at 4.24am tomorrow (June 21).

It's when the northern hemisphere is most inclined towards the sun, which is why we get the most daylight of the year.

It marks the time when days start shortening ahead of winter - though we won't notice that for a while.

Areas north of the Arctic circle receive sunlight for 24 hours during the summer solstice - while areas south of the Antarctic circle have a full day of darkness. That's reversed at the winter solstice on December 21.

  • The sun reaches its highest point of the year during the summer solstice; at the winter solstice, the noon sun is the lowest it will be all year
  • On the summer solstice, Carlisle can expect daylight between 04.34 and 21.52 (17 hours, 18 minutes), Workington from 04.38 to 21.52 (17 hrs, 14 mins) and Barrow 04.41 to 21.48 (17 hrs, 7 mins), according to
  • The term solstice is derived from the Latin scientific term solstitium. Containing the Latin sol- meaning “the sun” and sistere meaning “to make stand.” Today the term solstice is used to describe the exact moment when the sun reaches its northernmost point

While Stonehenge in Wiltshire attracts thousands to watch the sunrise on the summer solstice, there is a much smaller gathering at Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Keswick.

Comment on this article

Generate a new code
Comments not OK? Click here to let us know
Read this..