Summer: When the Living Is Easy
Summer begins with the summer solstice (21st of June). This is the point at which the north pole tilts most directly toward the sun. The line of latitude about the Earth at which the sun seems to be directly overhead on the solstice is called the Tropic of Cancer. It is at about 23.5° N.1 It is also during this time that the sun cannot be seen from south of a line at 66.5° S latitude. This southern latitude is called the Antarctic circle.
Throughout winter and spring, the days get longer. The increased sun exposure on the northern hemisphere progressively warms it. The daylight hours actually begin to dwindle just as summer is beginning, but with the built up warmth of spring and the fact that the number of summer daylight hours still exceed the night-time hours allows the hemisphere to get warmer yet, not falling off until the approach of the autumnal equinox (about September 22nd) which also marks the end of summer.
Summer is the longest season of the year with 93.65 days in the northern hemisphere.
Though summer officially begins on the 21st of June, it is more commonly thought, in the northern hemisphere, to encompass the months of June, July, and August bracketed by two American holidays, Memorial Day and Labor Day. In the Southern Hemisphere, summer is considered to be in December, January, and February.
Summer, in most industrialized countries, is the time for vacations, when families go to the beach or the mountains to take a break from the work-a-day world. In literature, summer is often seen as long, hot, and a time of building tensions due to too much heat. Ironically, it is also often seen as the kind of "siesta of the year" when lazy living and enjoyment are appropriate. This latter sentiment is expressed in William Blake's, To Summer.
Next Page: Autumn
- Significance of the Tropic of Cancer