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Summer solstice 2018: Fun facts about the official start of summer

Summer solstice 2018: Fun facts about the official start of summer

Google also released a Doodle to mark the start of the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere that features the same acorn-shaped head character using the large creature to help him grab a snowflake from above.

Thousands gathered at the prehistoric ring of standing stones to mark the longest day of the year, on June 21st, and watch the sun rise.

Today, June 21, is summer solstice and in the United Kingdom, the exact time of the solstice is 11.07am.

Astronomers can calculate an exact moment for the solstice, when Earth reaches the point in its orbit where the North Pole is angled closest to the sun. The sun reaches its highest elevation between June 20 and June 22 each year, with one day being the longest of the year at 17 hours.




Stonehenge is believed to have stood in the same spot since 3,000 to 2,000 BC, and its stones are perfectly positioned to align with the sunrise on the two annual solstices (winter being the other).

It's when the tilt of the Earth's axis is most inclined towards the sun on this date giving us the longest day, with the sun setting at Stonehenge at 9.27pm tonight which means we'll get more than 16 and a half hours of daylight!

The solstice was also celebrated at Avebury Neolithic henge monument in Wiltshire, a Unesco World Heritage site. Residents of places like Australia will experience the year's shortest day (and the start of winter). Each year, a celebration is held at the site, as it has been for thousands of years.

People enjoy an afternoon along the boardwalk at Coney Island on a hot day on June 14 in New York City.

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