When is the solstice 2018 this year?
Summer is officially knocking on Britain’s door and holidaymakers are glad to hear the astronomical summer starts next week on Thursday, June 21.
But to confuse matters a little, meteorologists up and down the country might say summer has already begun on June 1, and they would be correct in their statement.
The confusion comes down to there being two official dates for the start of the season – the astronomical and meteorological start of summer.
However, for most people, the astronomical summer solstice is when the summer clothes officially come out of the closet.
According to Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Dr Gregory Brown, whichever date we use largely comes down to intended purpose.
The space expert told Express.co.uk: “The season of summer begins at different times depending on what the specific purpose is.
“For astronomers, the date of the seasons must be connected to a specific, measurable quantity.
“Meteorological summer is instead based on the change in weather patterns of each season and lags behind the longest day because it takes time for the atmosphere and oceans to warm up.”
What is the solstice 2018?
The summer solstice is an exciting astronomical event which marks the official first day of summer when the Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees on its axis in relation to the sun.
Dr Brown explained: “We use the summer solstice which is the moment when the Earth’s tilt is most pointed towards the Sun in the northern hemisphere, making the day that moment falls upon the day with the longest daylight hours.
“That day can mark either the beginning or the exact middle of astronomical summer, depending on the astronomer.”
In this year’s case, the summer solstice lands on June 21.
The word solstice itself is derived from the Latin words sol and sisters which mean sun and standstill.
In the winter, during the winter solstice, the exact opposite happens and people get to enjoy the longest night of the year.
This year the winter solstice will fall on Friday, December 21.
On top of the two solstices, the planet undergoes two equinoxes in the spring and autumn respectively.
The equinoxes happen when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of night and day is almost perfectly equal.
The UK Met Office said: “The spring equinox marks the beginning of Spring and from this day forward the day is longer than the night.
“Similarly the autumn equinox marks the start of autumn as the night becomes longer than the day.”
The spring equinox fell on March this year and autumn equinox starts on September 23.
Source : EXPRESS