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10 fun facts about summer

Summer begins today at 5:43 pm.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Raise your hand if you love summer! Since you love it, here are 10 fun facts about many people’s favorite time of the year.

  1. This year summer begins today, June 20 at 5:43 pm. It’s called the summer solstice and it occurs between June 20 and June 22 every year. The reason it doesn’t always come on the same day is that Earth doesn’t circle the sun in exactly 365 days.
  2. The “dog days of summer” refer to the weeks between July 3 and August 11 and are named after the Dog Star (Sirius) in the Canis Major constellation. The ancient Greeks blamed Sirius for the season’s hot weather.
  3. If you love ice cream, the summer season should be your favorite. July is National Ice Cream Month. The average American eats an average of 20 quarts of ice cream a year. Vanilla is the most popular flavor, with chocolate coming in a distant second.
  4. Watermelon is one of summer’s best summer treats. Did you know that watermelons are not a fruit, but a vegetable? They belong to the cucumber family.
  5. Back in 1905, a San Francisco kid, by the name of Frank Epperson, accidentally invented the summertime treat, popsicles. He had mixed some sugary soda powder with water and left it out overnight. It was a cold night, and the mixture froze. He soon sold them everywhere.
  6. In the summer heat, the iron in France’s Eiffel Tower expands, making the tower grow more than 6 inches.
  7. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans eat over 7 billion hot dogs.
  8. If you love stargazing, you'll be excited to know the most visible annual meteor shower takes place in the summer. Active between July 14 and August 24, the Perseids meteor shower peaks around mid-August. Typically up to 100 meteors will streak across the sky every hour at a speed of 37 miles per second.
  9. There was once a year without summer. In 1816, a massive volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia produced enough dust, ash, and sulfur dioxide to partially cloud the Earth's atmosphere, the entire planet experienced a drop in temperature, even some winter-like conditions, such as snow in June and frost in August.
  10. If you get a little sad at the end of summer, you know you can enjoy the summer nearly all year round thanks to different hemispheres. The Northern Hemisphere experiences summer between June and September while summer in the Southern Hemisphere it’s December through March. You’d have to be willing to move around, or you can just live in Florida where warm summer-like weather is found nearly year-round!

RELATED: Summer starts Saturday! Here's what weather forecasters expect across the US

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