Rise and shine: Facts about the summer solstice, the longest day of the year

And nowhere did the day of greatest sunlight look more stunning than Rockford Common in the New Forest, Hants, pictured above.

The summer solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its highest apparent position in the sky – and the word “solstice” is from the Latin words for “sun” and “standing still”. Check out NADINE LINGE’S blazing facts about this magical day.

  • The Sun rose at 4.43am and set at 9.21pm in Greenwich, south-east London, yesterday, giving us 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight.
  • The solstice is down to the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun. Our planet does not spin on a vertical axis – it is tilted. This means the amount of sunlight that reaches different regions of the Earth changes during the year as it orbits the Sun.

SUNRISE: The summer solstice was yesterday

  • It was only the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere – Australia and other southern hemisphere countries marked the winter solstice – the shortest day of their year.
  • Everywhere above the Arctic Circle has 24 hours of sunlight on this day. In Alaska, they celebrate with a midnight game of baseball.
  • Revellers gather at Stonehenge, a religious site to early Britons, as the Altar, Heel and Slaughter stones line up with each other and the rising Sun to the north-east.
  • To mark it, single girls in Sweden place flowers under their pillow before they sleep, to dream of future husbands. People in Norway and Austria create bonfires. There are also yoga sessions held worldwide.