Updated: Jan 17, 2022
You've probably heard the word solstice a few times in your life but it seems to be right around summer and right around winter.
So what exactly is a solstice? A solstice is when the sun reaches its northernmost or southernmost point of a planet. On Earth, we have two solstices, In the northern hemisphere the summer solstice is around June 21st. Many times this marks the first day of summer and the longest day of daylight. The winter solstice is around December 21st and is the shortest day of daylight (or longest day of night). In the southern hemisphere this is reversed.
The idea of this can be very confusing but I'll try to explain. The Earth spins on its own axis, like a spinning top, or a spinning coin. Each rotation is 24 hours in length or 1 day. While the Earth is spinning on its own axis, it's also slowly revolving around the sun. It takes 365.25 days to make one revolution around the sun. While the Earth is spinning like a top slowly going around the sun, it's also tilted slightly on its axis at about 23.5 degrees. Because of this tilt, northern and southern hemispheres receive different amounts of sunlight. In the winter, the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. In fact, the North Pole receives no sun what-so-ever during the winter and has 6 months of darkness. The opposite happens in the summer. It's 6 months of complete 'round the clock daylight. You might have heard of the "midnight sun." The solstices are when the poles, or Earth's axes, are furthest and closest to the sun.
Below is a video that explains this pretty well.
(This video was not produced or published by or for An Otter Milestone. AOM takes no credit for the video. This video is for informational purposes only.)