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Summer season begins with longest day of the year today

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Even as the country has been reeling under the sweltering heat for the past few weeks, the first day of the astronomical summer season begins on Tuesday.

This is also the longest day of the year!

According to the Oman Astronomical Society, the phenomenon of the summer solstice for this year begins on June 21, the first day of the astronomical summer season in the northern hemisphere.

“The phenomenon begins at 1:13 pm and thus is the longest day and the shortest night of the other days of the year", it said.

At that moment on Tuesday, astronomers say, the sun will be directly above the Tropic of Cancer. In the farthest north, the sun moves in the sky, which is why the days close to the solstice have the most daylight of the year.

Solstice is a unique astronomical event that occurs twice a year; it happens once in the summer in June and again in winter in December. The December solstice happens around December 21, and on this day, the sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn.

The General Assembly of the United Nations, through a resolution adopted on November 2, 2001, acknowledged this day as the International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice.

The solstice occurs when the Earth arrives at the point where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt in relation to the sun, which is why we have more hours of daylight during the Summer Solstice.

However, the meteorologists believe that the summer starts about three to four days before the occurrence of the June solstice.

In many cultures in the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year, is considered to be the midpoint of the summer and midsummer celebrations are common in many European countries.

During the summer or June solstice, it is summer in the UK, India, Canada, Russia and other countries in the Northern Hemisphere and it marks the longest day here in terms of daylight.

On the same day, it is the winter solstice in Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and other countries in the southern hemisphere and marks the shortest day of the year in these countries.

Celebrations are held to mark the summer solstice worldwide with music and festivities.

In England, hundreds of people travel to the ancient site Stonehenge on the first day of summer. Solstice observations there have been going on annually for thousands of years.

The United Nations acknowledges the celebration of those events as an embodiment of the unity of the cultural heritage and centuries-long traditions.

“They play a significant role in strengthening the ties among peoples on the basis of mutual respect and the ideals of peace and good-neighbourliness”, it says.

Tuesday is also the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, meaning winter is coming for the roughly 12 per cent of the world's population who live there.


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