- Amy Shoemaker
How Are You Celebrating the Summer Solstice?
Did you know that our planet hasn't always rotated at its current speed? That's right, Earth's rotation has slowed down bit by tiny bit because of tidal friction - an interaction between the ocean tides, the moon, and the planet's rotation. About 4.5 billion years ago, it only took 6 hours for the Earth to complete one rotation. Three milliseconds are added to the day every century. That may not seem like a lot, but it adds up! Now, we're up to 24 hours per day.
Why is the rotation of Earth and the number of hours in a day relevant to us? Well, tomorrow is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Because Earth is tilted on its axis, different parts of the planet get different amounts of sun during different times of the year. That's why we have seasons. Interestingly, the longest day of the year doesn't necessarily mean we'll experience the earliest sunrise or latest sunset of the year.
This Summer Solstice is a day to soak up the sun (with sunscreen, of course). Step outside tomorrow, let the sun be warm on your skin. Notice where you were at the Winter Solstice in December. Notice where you were at the last Summer Solstice. What has changed? How have you grown?
Give thanks for the sun and the abundance that comes from its light and warmth on our planet.