Solstices Definition Types

What are the Solstices, Definition, and Types

The solstices and equinoxes are determined by the Earth’s position in its orbit relative to the Sun, which is at a 23.5-degree angle to its orbital plane. Two Solstices are observed every year, Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice. 

Earth’s axis is an arbitrary pole that runs from “top” to “bottom” through Earth’s center; Earth spins around this pole every day, making one complete turn. This causes day and night to alternate in different parts of the planet.

The Summer Solstice takes place on June 21 every year. The southern hemisphere experiences the winter solstice at the same time.

Similarly, When there is a Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere observes the summer solstice. The winter solstice occurs on December 22.

What are Solstices

Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice refer to the shortest and longest days of the summer and winter seasons. The word solstice originated from the Latin word sol, meaning ‘Sun,’ and sisto, meaning ‘to stand still. Although the Sun never appears to be stationary throughout the year.

Summer and Winter Solstices

What are the two types of Solstices?

Two types of solstice are summer and winter solstice. During the solstices, Earth’s tilt is at its greatest angle to its orbital plane, resulting in one hemisphere receiving greater amounts of daylight than the other.

1. Summer Solstice

The summer solstice, also known as the June solstice, takes place around June 20-22 and is the year’s longest day. The sun’s rays are at their maximum intensity, and the most sunlight is available during this time.

The north pole points toward the Sun, whilst the south pole points away, resulting in the longest day in the northern hemisphere.

2. Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice, also known as the December solstice, is observed between December 20 and 23. There are few daylight hours left on this day, as the day is the shortest of the year. 

On or around 21 December, the south pole faces the Sun, while the north pole points away. The noon position of the Sun is directly overhead at 23.5-degrees (the Tropic of Capricorn). As a result, everyone in the southern hemisphere will experience their longest daylight hours this time.

Difference Between Summer Solstices and Winter Solstices

The following are the differences between summer and winter solstices.

Summer Solstice Winter Solstice
During the summer solstice, the North Pole is tilted towards the Sun. During the winter solstice, the South Pole is tilted towards the Sun.
It takes place on 21st June It takes place on 22nd December
The Northern Hemisphere experiences its longest day and shortest night during the summer solstice. The Southern Hemisphere experiences its longest day and shortest night during the winter solstice.
The Tropic of Cancer is directly exposed to the sun’s rays. The Tropic of Capricorn is directly exposed to the sun’s rays.
There are approximately six months of continuous daylight beyond the Arctic circle. Beyond the Antarctic circle, continuous daylight is experienced for approximately six months of the year.
In the Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice signifies the longest day and one of the year’s earliest and latest sunrises and sunsets. Winter solstice is a momentary event, but the day it occurs is often referred to as the winter solstice.
The Sun appears at its highest altitude when observed from outer space or from a terrestrial location outside tropical latitudes. However, it reaches its highest elevation on a different day for specific locations in the tropics. Many temperate regions traditionally consider the winter solstice the center of winter, but in some countries and calendars, it marks the beginning of winter.
The Northern Hemisphere receives substantial sunlight and heat during the summer solstice. In the Southern Hemisphere, a large portion of the land receives sunlight during the winter solstice.


How do solstices affect daylight hours in the Arctic and Antarctic circles? 

During the Summer Solstice, there are approximately six months of continuous daylight beyond the Arctic circle. At the same time, during the Winter Solstice, there are around six months of continuous daylight beyond the Antarctic circle.

What is the main difference between the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice? 

The Earth’s tilt is the main difference between the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice. The North Pole tilts toward the Sun during the Summer Solstice, while during the Winter Solstice, the South Pole tilts toward the Sun. This results in longer days in the Northern Hemisphere during the Summer Solstice and shorter days during the Winter Solstice.

What are solstices, and why do they occur? 

The solstices occur twice a year when the Earth’s axis is at its maximum tilt towards or away from the Sun. They occur due to the 23.5-degree Earth’s tilt with its orbital plane, which results in one Hemisphere receiving more sunlight and heat than the other.

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