In a rare occasion, the Summer Solstice and the solar eclipse coincided on June 21, this year. A cosmic extravaganza, like today's, is very special as it takes place only twice in this century. The first happened today and the next will be 19 years later, on June 21, 2039, according to the timeanddate.com.
What is solstice?
Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its northernmost or southernmost position every year. There are two solstices each year, Summer Solstice around June 21 and Winter Solstice on December 21. On Summer Solstice, places in the Northern Hemisphere witness the longest day and people near the Arctic see the midnight sun throughout the night.
When does Summer Solstice happen?
Traditionally, we know that solstices mark changing of the seasons. It takes place when the sun's zenith is at its farthest from the Equator and the Earth's North Pole tilts towards the sun. At this time the sun also shines directly over the Tropic of Cancer.
Why is Summer Solstice celebrated?
Countries and cultures around the world celebrate Summer Solstice in unique ways. There are fests and carnivals organised around this time and people usually go on holidays.
There is a tradition of people in Europe travelling to Stonehenge to experience the unique Summer Solstice. Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument-like structure at Wiltshire in England. Historians believe that in ancient times people viewed the sun from the centre of the Stonehenge, to mark the beginning of the Calender.