Summer Solstice 2019

John Williams

20 Jun 2019

Do you worship Solar? Tilix Smart Energy certainly does! This short blog post celebrates the summer solstice and discusses some of the reasons to get excited at this time of year.

Here comes the summer!

In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice, or the longest day of the year, takes place on Friday 21 June. We enjoy brighter evenings, festivals, picnics and barbecues.

The summer solstice occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt towards the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). For that hemisphere, the summer solstice is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight.

At the pole, there is continuous daylight around the summer solstice and the Earth’s maximum axial tilt towards the Sun is 23.44°.

REF: Wikipedia

Solar PV Yield

The solar industry is creating jobs at an extraordinary rate. As solar energy keeps getting cheaper and cheaper, it becomes accessible to more and more people.

More energy from the Sun lands on the face of the Earth in just one hour than the entire global population uses in one year. We have all the solar power we could want. Plus, unlike fossil fuels, it’s renewable and will never run out – at least not for a few billion years.

The current record for solar panel efficiency of 26.6%, was set in March 2017 by Japanese scientists. The panel still uses the same principles in the original silicon cell design pioneered by Bell Labs in the 1950s, with a few significant innovations to allow for the collection of a greater number of photons.

Cooler temperatures actually make solar panels process sunlight more efficiently than at hotter temperatures. Electrons at rest on the solar panel are excited by photons from the Sun. The difference between the excited and rest energies determines how much electrical is generated. If the solar panel is hot, then the electrons at rest have more energy the difference between the rest energy and excited energy is smaller.

REF: Climate Reality Project

Cultural Importance

Many cultures recognise the event in some way with holidays, festivals and rituals.

In the Finnish midsummer celebration, bonfires (kokko) are very common and are lit at lakesides and by the sea. Branches from birch trees (koivu) are often placed on both sides of the front door to welcome visitors. Swedish-speaking Finns often celebrate by erecting a maypole.

Because of Finland’s northerly location the nights in the run-up to midsummer are short (with twilight even at midnight) or non-existent. This gives a great contrast to the darkness of the winter time. The temperature can vary between 0°C and +30°C, with an average of about 20°C in the South.

In Sweden, midsummer is such an important festivity that there have been serious discussions to make Midsummer’s Eve into the National Day of Sweden, instead of 6 June.

In Denmark, the solstitial celebration is called sankthans (“St John’s Eve”), and in accordance with the Danish tradition of celebrating a holiday on the evening before the actual day, it takes place on the evening of 23 June.

In Portugal, midsummer festivities are included in what is known today as Santos Populares (Popular Saints celebrations). Saints’ days are full of fun and merriment.

World Music Day (Fête de la Musique) is an annual music celebration that takes place on 21 June. On this day, the citizens of a city or country are urged to play music outside in their neighbourhoods or in public spaces and parks. Free concerts are also organised, where musicians play for fun and not for payment.

The first all-day musical celebration on the day of the summer solstice was first celebrated in Paris in 1982. Since then, it has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 700 cities in 120 countries.

National Indigenous Peoples Day (Journée nationale des peuples autochtones) is a day recognising and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada. It was first celebrated as National Aboriginal Day in 1996, on 21 June. This date was chosen as the statutory holiday for its cultural significance as the summer solstice, and the fact that it is a day on which many Indigenous peoples and communities traditionally celebrate their heritage. It was renamed from National Aboriginal Day in 2017.

REF: Wikipedia

Stonehenge

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric world heritage site which has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of summer solstice for thousands of years.

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

Each year on 21 June visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge overnight to mark the summer solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones. At dawn the central Altar stone aligns with the Slaughter stone, Heel stone and the rising sun to the northeast.

REF Stonehenge Tours

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