Thousands gather at Britain's ancient Stonehenge site for summer solstice

Summer solstice: Thousands gather at Stonehenge for longest day

The reverse is true in the Southern Hemisphere, where June 21 marks the start of winter.

The summer solstice marks when the sun reaches the most northern point in the sky all year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Today, June 21, is summer solstice and in the United Kingdom, the exact time of the solstice is 11.07am.

The summer solstice happens sometime between June 20 and June 22 every year for those in the Northern Hemisphere, and this year it's set to happen Thursday for people in the United States.

After that, the days will get shorter and the sun's highest daily point drops in the sky, until the winter solstice which will be Friday, Dec. 21 at 5:23 p.m.

The Druid and Pagan community perform rituals and celebrations at the summer and winter solstices.

The word "solstice" itself means "sun stands still" in Latin and the celebrations of the solstices date back thousands of years. It brings the longest day and shortest night of the year for the 88 percent of Earth's people who live in the Northern Hemisphere.

A solstice occurs when the sun is at its furthest point from the equator.

The solstice is the 24-hour period during the year when the most daylight hits the Northern Hemisphere.

In the United Kingdom, the Stonehenge monument - an UNESCO World Heritage Site - will be open to visitors. However, shortly after that, the Earth will be the closest it gets to the sun on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 12:19 a.m.

There are two solstices and two equinoxes each year, each marking the end of one season and the beginning of another.

About 9,500 people gathered at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, to watch the sun rise over the Neolithic stones.

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