With much of the UK under torrential rain, it may not feel like it, but today is the 2016 summer solstice – the day with the most hours of daylight in the year, traditionally seen as the beginning of summer.
When does the solstice fall?
Named after the Latin word “solstitium” – “sun standing still” – the day marks the point when the Northern Hemisphere is at its maximum tilt towards the sun, leading to the sun appearing at its highest over the horizon at noon – and 17 hours of daylight in total.
Depending on the shifting calendar, it comes between 20 and 22 June in the North, and 20 and 23 December in the Southern Hemisphere.
What is a strawberry moon?
This year is a particularly unusual summer solstice: for the first time since 1967, there’s a “Strawberry Moon” – also known as a Honey Moon or a Hot Moon.
This is when June’s full moon falls on the Solstice, and is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, typically happening every 50-70 years.
Named after Native Americans believing the moon marked the start of strawberry season, the moon’s low angle means its light must go through thicker air, which can lead to amber skies as it rises and falls.
Astrologers claim the phenomenon is ripe with significance, but still can’t predict it without the help of actual calculations.