The word solstice comes from the Latin words for ‘sun’ and ‘to stand still’…

The UAE will witness the longest day of the year next week on June 21. It’s called the summer solstice which is an annual astronomical phenomenon that marks the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

According to Ibrahim Al-Jarwan, a member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, ‘the northern half of the earth will witness the longest day of the year between June 16 and 26, due to the summer solstice that will occur on June 21. Al-Jarwan stated that the daytime will be 13 hours and 43 minutes.’

What is the summer solstice?

Summer Solstice occurs when the Northern Hemisphere (the half of earth that is north of the equator) receives more sunlight than on any other day of the year. Astronomically, this is when the sun travels along its northernmost path in the sky. Since this is the longest day in the year, it only makes sense that it will also be the shortest night of the calendar year.

Humans may have observed the summer solstice as early as the Stone Age and cultures around the world still celebrate the day with feasts, bonfires, picnics and songs. It is also known as the June solstice.

So, does this mean that it will be the hottest day of the year?

Thankfully, no. According to National Geographic, on the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives more sunlight than on any other day of the year — but that doesn’t mean the first day of summer is also the hottest. The solstice marks the height of the sun, but the hottest weather comes a month or two later.

However, temperatures in the UAE are already in the high 40s with temperatures soaring across the region over the past week, with highs of 47ºC expected in some areas. Yesterday the highest temperature in UAE was a hot 46.9°C in Al Jazeera (Al Dhafra Region) according to the National Centre of Meteorology. 

But what is the hottest temperature ever recorded in the UAE?  The official record for the UAE’s highest ever temp — and remember these are recorded in the shade, by specialist calibrated equipment was back in July 2002 at an eye-sweating 52.1ºC (125.78ºF).

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