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.

The dates of the solstice doesn’t occur on the same day as it depends when the sun reaches the northernmost point from the celestial equator. Currently, it shifts between June 20, 21 and 22, but this year it falls on June 21.

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 approaching 50 degrees across the region over the past week. But believe it or not, it has actually gone above 50 degrees in the UAE. The hottest temperature ever recorded, an official record for the UAE was an eye-sweating 52.1ºC (125.78ºF). It was recorded in the shade, by specialist calibrated equipment was back in July 2002.

Images: Unsplash