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When DOES summer start?

Basically, you get to pick

Pool Time means Summer Time!
Pool Time means Summer Time!

I’ve mentioned “meteorological summer” before: June, July, August. This is handy for record-keeping and so all of the meteorological seasons start and end from the first day of a month to the last day of a month. How do we get away with that? Read on!

After all, isn’t Summer OFFICIALLY starting on Saturday at 4:44 p.m. CDT when the summer solstice occurs? This certainly sounds official as the sun reaches its most northern point in the sky having crossed the equator to the Tropic of Cancer (which I think was the name of my mom’s suntan lotion back in the 70s).

Because the Earth tilts on its axis 23.5°, this imaginary Tropic of Cancer line is 23.5° north of the Equator. Below are the two lines for you to compare, the equator is first.

The Equator courtesy WikiCommons
The Equator courtesy WikiCommons
The Tropic of Cancer courtesy WikiCommons
The Tropic of Cancer courtesy WikiCommons

So the solstice marks the sun’s most northern point during the year, nicely illustrated in this photo:

4 months of the sun courtesy Abhijit Juvekar
4 months of the sun courtesy Abhijit Juvekar

Longer days, shorter nights, heat. Summer, right? The solstice is a nice marking point for that. Stonehenge claims the solstice as more than just a nice marking point for summer, but a revered moment in time. Those stones were placed precisely so the sun could break through as the solstice occurs. Tens of thousands of people show up every year to witness this event in person. But not this year.

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Sadly, we can’t visit our historic places in person, but we’ll do our best to bring you the fascinating stories  here on Instagram.⠀ On 26 October 1918, Stonehenge was offered by Cecil and Mary Chubb to Sir Alfred Mond, First Commissioner of Works, as a gift for the nation. Cecil Chubb had bought Stonehenge for £6600 at a local auction just three years previously.⠀ Prior to 1918, the monument was propped up with wooden poles and some of the stones were in danger of collapse. Increasing numbers of visitors through the late 19th century had led to damage, with people regularly chipping the stones for souvenirs and scratching their names on the monument. Although this was largely halted by the introduction of an admission charge and attendant policeman from 1901 onwards, the monument itself was still in a perilous condition.⠀ Thanks to the Chubbs' generosity, Stonehenge was saved. English Heritage’s predecessors, The Office of Works, began to care for the monument, restoring many of the fallen stones and undertaking a major survey and programme of excavation. Today, the ancient monument is looked after by English Heritage on behalf of the nation.⠀ Pictured: Stonehenge bathed in light | Cecil Chubb and his wife Mary | Members of staff and their families forming a 100 at the stones in 2018 to mark 100 years of care and conservation of the monument.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #englishheritage #stonehenge #historicplaces #historicproperties #neolithic #monument #culture #history #heritage #salisbury #wiltshire #uk #britain #england #englishheritagesites #charity #conservation

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However, you can witness a streaming solstice! From the Stonehenge Facebook page, get ready for an on-the-couch experience like no other! Here is the link!

Finally, meteorologists and astronomers use their preferred timing with calendars and stars, while others just use “warmer” periods. The Irish calendar marks summer from May 1 to August 1. In Chinese astronomy, summer starts May 5 and ends August 6 while in southeast Asia summer is generally the monsoon season from March to June! And culturally, we often mark Memorial Day to Labor Day as summer in America while Canada starts summer on Victoria Day! So, you see, there is no “official” agreed upon timing for summer (or any other season for that matter).

Me, I just use the date I can get in the pool to the date I can’t. When do you start summer? I’ll have a poll going on my Facebook page!

Have a great weekend. I’m off for a few days starting Friday. When I blog again, I’ll be 60!

Cheers,

Frank


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