Sunday, June 20

It's All Down Hill From Here... least for those of us in the northern hemisphere. The summer solstice is today. Actually, it's June 21st at 00:57 Universal Time, but that's 8:57PM for all of you over there on the east coast of North America and 5:57 PM for those of us on the west coast.

From Wikepedia:
The Summer Solstice is an astronomical term regarding the position of the Sun in relation to the celestial equator. The Summer Solstice is the date with the longest day and hence with the shortest night. This date usually falls near June 21 (in the Northern hemisphere) or December 21 (in the Southern hemisphere).

At the time of this solstice, the earth is in that point of its orbit at which the hemisphere in question is most tilted towards the sun, causing the sun to appear at its farthest above the celestial equator when viewed from earth.

Midsummer is the time around the summer solstice....Please note that this midsummer is not the middle of summer, if summer is defined as the warm time of year, because of delayed heating effect. Indeed, summer may be defined to begin with the summer solstice.
A diagram with more explanation can be found here.

For those more poetic than scientific, an appropriate sonnet from George Herbert.

LET forrain nations of their language boast,
What fine varietie each tongue affords:
I like our language, as our men and coast;
Who cannot dresse it well, want wit, not words.
How neatly do we give one onely name
To parents issue and the sunnes bright starre!
A sonne is light and fruit; a fruitfull flame
Chasing the fathers dimnesse, carri'd far
From the first man in th' East, to fresh and new
Western discov'ries of posteritie.
So in one word our Lords humilitie
We turn upon him in a sense most true:
For what Christ once in humblenesse began,
We him in glorie call, The Sonne of Man.