Summer solstice 2022: What is a solstice, is today the longest day of the year and how much daylight will we get in Portsmouth

CROWDS have flocked to Stonehenge today to celebrate the summer solstice.

Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 12:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 12:13 pm

The UK is in for the longest day of the year today (June 21) as the summer solstice takes place.

The summer solstice signals the moment where the days begin to get shorter, ahead of the winter solstice.

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This morning's summer solstice sunrise at the Royal Oak, Langstone. Picture: Vicky Stovell

But what is the summer solstice and how much sunlight will we get today?

Here’s everything you need to know:

What is the summer solstice?

In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice takes place annually between June 20 and June 22.

This year, the summer solstice falls on June 21, when the tilt of the earth’s axis is mostly inclined towards the sun.

The summer solstice marks the onset of summer and in the southern hemisphere, this will take place on December 22 this year.

There are two solstices each year, one in the winter and one in the summer.

The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year, which will take place on December 21 this year in the northern hemisphere.

Traditionally, the summer solstice fell between the planting and harvesting of crops, allowing those who worked in the fields time to relax.

How much sunlight will we get today?

According to the Met Office, the sun rose at 4.51am this morning in Portsmouth and it is scheduled to set at 9.21pm.

This means that we will get around 16 and a half hours of sunlight today.

How is the summer solstice celebrated?

Twice a year, thousands of people flock to Stonehenge in Wiltshire to celebrate the summer and winter solstice.

Stonehenge is the most popular place for pagans to mark these occasions as it famously aligns with the solstices.

On the day of the summer solstice, the rising sun reaches the middle of the stones when it shines on the central altar.

Crowds gather at Stonehenge for sunrise, which occurs behind the Heel Stone, and they cheer and meditate to celebrate the longest day of the year.

The summer solstice marks the ancient middle of summer and it is significant for pagans as they believe that midsummer holds a special power.

Elsewhere in the UK, many celebrations will take place today, including the Golowan Festival in Penzance, Cornwall.

The festival celebrates midsummer each year with bright parades and in 2022, the festival will take place between June 17 and June 16.