Between June 20 and June 22 every year, the Northern Hemisphere celebrates the summer solstice.
The summer solstice marks the day marks the North Pole’s maximum tilt towards the Sun.
It's also the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, bringing early sunrises and hot summer days.
A summer solstice (and its December counterpart, the winter solstice) is possible because the Earth is tilted — 23.5 degrees, to be exact — relative to the Sun.
This tilt causes the seasons: when Earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun, it’s summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere. And vice versa.
Around June 20-22, Earth reaches a position in its orbit when the North Pole is tilted as much as it’s going to be towards the Sun — that’s the solstice.
The Sun’s noontime position won’t change for several days. In fact, in Latin, solstice means “Sun stands still.”
Then days will get shorter and shorter, until the winter solstice in December — The shortest day of the year.
Read a deeper solstice explainer here.