Summer Solstice 2024: Date, Time, Origin, and Why is it Longest Day of the Year? – The Quint

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In ancient Greece, the summer solstice was a time of renewal and growth. The sun reached its highest point in the sky on this day, which was also the longest day of the year.

This time of year, when the sun stops moving further north and is closest to the Earth’s surface, was a time of celebration and honoring the sun’s life-giving power. Many cultures still view the summer solstice as the “middle of summer” or a time of renewal and growth.

Eratosthenes, an ancient Greek scholar, was one of the first to measure the Earth’s circumference. He did so by observing that on the summer solstice, sunlight shone directly down a well in Aswan, Egypt. He also noted that the shadows cast by obelisks were not vertical, which suggested that the sun was not directly overhead.

By calculating the difference in shadow lengths between the two cities, Eratosthenes was able to accurately estimate the Earth’s circumference. The results of this experiment confirmed that the Earth is a sphere, not flat.


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