Sunset later: 8:59 pm
Total sunlit hours 15 hours, 29 minutes, and 34 seconds And then a few additional minutes of twilight after the sun goes down.
It is summer solstice.
All because Earth is tilted.
A slightly depressing thought--from now on, the days will get shorter and the Sun begins to move south towards the equator! On the other hand, my brother, who lives way down under, is perhaps delighted that the shortest day of the year is history and from now on the days will get only longer and longer ;)
When we learnt about the tilt, back in the 8th or 9th grade, it was merely an intellectual idea for me. The real world in Neyveli, which is only about 11 degrees north of the equator, did not change much with the "seasons" that the book said happens because of the tilt.
Growing up in Neyveli, and spending summers even further south, I was familiar with only three seasons: hot, hotter, and hottest! Of course, I am kidding; there was only one season--HOT :)
But, that one season worked well--as kids, we don't know any better. Life was only in terms of school days versus holidays. And holidays meant doing nothing, or climbing up mango and tamarind trees, or biking all over the place, or playing cricket, or fighting with my brother while doing any of the previously listed activities ...
Even in California, I never really experienced the changing seasons. But, here in Oregon, it is all magical.
The cold, damp, and dark months yield to spring when green shoots and flowers appear. And then summer explodes around the Fourth of July. When it does, the days seem to go on for ever and ever and ever. We begin to complain about the heat. We turn the air conditioners on. We search for relief in the cool waters of rivers and lakes.
Just when it seems like we can't take the heat anymore, the cooling arrives. We begin to appreciate why fall is just about everybody's favorite season. The pace slows down. We catch our breath. The rains begin.
We embrace the first few rains like how we don't let go of a long-lost friend. And then the rains keep coming. And coming. The days get shorter and colder and darker.
We do this year after year. All because of Earth's tilt!
May we live through a lot more solstices!
|Caption at the source:|
The solstice was also celebrated at Avebury Neolithic henge monument in Wiltshire, a Unesco World Heritage site.