Adrian Dening's Stars Over Somerset

    Monday 21st to Sunday 27th June 2021

    We begin next week with the Summer Solstice on Monday 21st.

    The Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees on its axis or in other words, our north and south poles are not straight up and down. This means that during the year, as we travel around the Sun, the angle of it changes.

    In winter, the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, making it appear lower in the sky and weaker. As a result, our number of daylight hours is shorter. In summer, the northern hemisphere is tilted slightly towards the Sun and so it seems to go higher in the sky, feels stronger and our daytimes last longer. You might have noticed that it is generally warmer in the summer than winter!

    The Summer Solstice is the day when the effect of our tilt is at maximum, the Sun is the highest it goes in the sky and we have the longest day. The Winter Solstice on 21st December is the opposite, when the Sun is at its lowest.

    In-between the Summer and Winter Solstices are the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, meaning "equal day and night". On these days, our tilt is sideways-on to the Sun.

    It's a good job this happens as it creates the seasons and without them, life would not have evolved the same way on our planet!

    Stonehenge is believed to have been used as a simple calendar 2000 - 3000 years BC as it is orientated towards the position of the Sun at the Summer Solstice.

    Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2021

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