THERE’S BEEN SOME confusion today as to whether we’re experiencing the longest day of the year with the passing of the summer solstice.
US media outlets have been proclaiming that today is the longest day, which is traditionally thought to be on June 21st. Even Astronomy Ireland fell foul of a little confusion.
David Moore, chairman of Astronomy Ireland has told TheJournal.ie that the solstice takes place in this time zone at 12.09am tonight (or tomorrow morning if you’re being particular, and we are), and that therefore tomorrow is officially the longest day of the year.
He said that it’s possible to predict the exact moment of the solstice, and that countries in time zones behind ours are correct to name 20 June as the date of their summer solstice.
The definition of solstice is ‘sun still’, and so the three or four days either side are almost exactly the same length, but it is common practice to name the day of the solstice as the longest day of the year.
Moore also said that contrary to what meteorologists and travel agents say, tomorrow is also the official start of summer. He said that the seasons are defined by the tilt of the planet, and that the names of the months June, July and August are man-made creations.