Summer Solstice 2022: Longest day of year kicks off season

The summer solstice is celebrated internationally

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Tuesday marks the first day of the 2022 summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Astronomical summer begins at the solstice: the longest day and shortest night of the year. 

These views, captured from the sun-facing side of Earth, show the change in Earth’s tilt between the December (left) and June (right) solstices. These images were taken by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's DSCOVR satellite in December 2018 and June 2019.

These views, captured from the sun-facing side of Earth, show the change in Earth’s tilt between the December (left) and June (right) solstices. These images were taken by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's DSCOVR satellite in December 2018 and June 2019. (Credits: NASA/DSCOVR EPIC)

The summer solstice occurs when the Earth's tilt toward the sun is at a maximum, with the sun appearing at the highest elevation with a noontime position, resulting in warmer temperatures.

"Solstice" comes from the Latin word solstitium, with sol meaning "sun" and stitium meaning "still" or "standing." 

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According to FOX Weather, astronomical seasons are based on the position of Earth near the sun, with the Tropic of Cancer directly aligned with the sun at 5:14 a.m. ET. 

Lucca Essomba, 6 years old of Boston, MA plays in the fountains in the North End Park, as the U.S. East Coast is hit by a heat wave, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. May 22, 2022. 

Lucca Essomba, 6 years old of Boston, MA plays in the fountains in the North End Park, as the U.S. East Coast is hit by a heat wave, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. May 22, 2022.  (REUTERS/Katherine Taylor)

The Tropic of Cancer runs through Australia, Chile, southern Brazil and northern Africa. 

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The Earth is tilted approximately 23.5 degrees off a vertical axis, with the most direct sunlight hitting the Northern Hemisphere during astronomical summer and at the Southern Hemisphere during astronomical winter. 

Solstices happen twice per year, at the points in the Earth's orbit where the tilt is most pronounced, indicating the change of seasons. 

Austin CapMetro busses offer free rides allowing passengers a space to cool off as extreme heat hits Texas, in Austin, Texas, U.S., June 17, 2022. 

Austin CapMetro busses offer free rides allowing passengers a space to cool off as extreme heat hits Texas, in Austin, Texas, U.S., June 17, 2022.  (REUTERS/Jordan Vonderhaar)

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The solstice is celebrated by many cultures across the globe, and thousands gather at Stonehenge in the U.K.

Meteorological summer begins on June 1.