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Today, June 20, happens to be the first day of summer or summer “solstice.” Derived from the Latin words “sol” for “sun” and “sisto” for “stop,” it is the day when the North Pole is most inclined towards the sun. As a result, residents of the Northern Hemisphere enjoy the longest day of the year. The opposite, of course, is true for the residents of the Southern Hemisphere who will experience the shortest day of the year. What makes today’s summer solstice even more unique is that for the first time in many years, it coincides with a full moon.
While everything north of the equator will experience at least 12 hours of sunshine, many cities will get much more. Miami, for example, will receive 13 hours and 45 minutes of daylight, while San Francisco will get over 14 hours. Across the Atlantic, residents of London will enjoy just over 18 hours, while those living in Stockholm will bask in 21 hours of sunshine. People wanting to experience a day with no sunset will have to head to the Arctic Circle, where the sun will remain overhead for a full 24 hours!
But going to the northern-most tip of the planet will mean missing out on the other equally dazzling celestial event that is overlapping the summer solstice for first time since 1967 and will not do so again, until 2062 — A glorious full moon!
This first full moon of June goes by many different names. The Algonquin Indians called it “Strawberry Moon” because its appearance signaled that the fruit was ready to be picked. It is also referred to as “Honey Moon,” thanks to its amber color, a result of the full moon’s proximity to the horizon.
In Europe, it is known as “Full Rose Moon,” while in Japan it is referred to as “Lotus Moon.” No matter what the name, the low-hanging satellite that gives the illusion of being unnaturally large as it beams through trees, buildings, and other objects in its path, is a glorious sight — One that should not be missed. So be sure to the enjoy the year’s longest day, and the even more spectacular night, while it lasts.
Resources: treehugger.com,al.com,the guardian.com