First Day of Summer 2013: The Summer Solstice

The weather last week was actually a reminder that we will really have a summer season this year, after weeks and weeks of ‘not so good’. However, we shouldn’t complain too much, as bad storms throughout the country fortunately continue to avoid us.
The calendar tells us that Friday, June 21, 2013, is the First Day of Summer-The Summer Solstice.
Events such as this are always interesting, and present unanswered questions, so we looked into a little history on the subject.
Each year, the timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21 in North America, depending on your time zone.
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).
In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer. In the winter, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.
How about living in Alaska? They get 22 hours of sun on the solstice. Nothing like having a BBQ outside after midnight with full sun! The sad part is, after the solstice, they start losing daylight, and in the winter get only five hours!
Celebrate the 4th!
July 4 is just around the corner, and our wish is that everyone has a fun, safe, holiday with family and friends.
Variously known as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4 has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4 has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts, to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.