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The longest day, how and why?

Sunrise Cropwell Bishop Nottinghamshire Photo: David Ball

It's the summer solstice today when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The sun appeared this morning at 4.40am and it will set at 9.35pm making it the longest day of the year. It marks the peak of summer, the only down side is from here on in the days will get shorter!

But why do we get so much daylight at this time of year? It's all to do with the tilt of the axis around which the world rotates. This is what creates our seasons. The tilt determines which part of the world gets most of the sunshine.

At this time of year the northern part of the world is tilted towards the sun giving us more daylight hours and warmth from the sun. That's why places further north than us like the Arctic Circle will get 24 hours of sun today and no darkness as the sun never sets. Referred to as the Land of the Midnight Sun.

In contrast countries in the the southern hemisphere like South America and Australia are tilted away from the sun giving them their winter months.

Of course it might be the longest day but that doesn't mean we'll see that much sunshine. Expect lots of cloud today with a few sunny spells that are likely to trigger some heavy downpours.

Where we do catch a shower we could see 5-10mm of rain within 1 hour. The wind will be light and it will feel mild with temperatures reaching 20c.

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