ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Happy Summer Solstice!
Today is the longest day of the year in terms of sunlight -- nearly 14-hours worth. Here in Florida, we saw the sunrise at 6:34 A.M. and it won't set until 8:29 p.m.
Technically, summer officially starts at 5:43 p.m. EST. This year many solstice celebrations are being held virtually to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
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You can learn more about the Summer Solstice virtually today. The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature (formerly the South Florida Museum) in Bradenton is hosting a Zoom call at 11 a.m. today to explain the science behind the solstice, and to teach people how to do their own stargazing with a telescope. The hour-long event is free, but you have to register online to get the access code for the Zoom call.
This is a special time of year in our solar system because there's a few celestial phenomenons to help welcome in summer. The first solar eclipse of the decade will create a "ring of fire" around the Sun. It happens when the moon passes between the Earth and Sun, without completely covering the Sun, resulting in a glowing ring of sunlight. While the eclipse is visible over parts of Africa, Asia and the Pacific Ocean, you'll have to watch it online in Florida.
You can also tune in to a virtual Summer Solstice celebration across the pond. For the first time this year, English Heritage asked people not to take the traditional trip to Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice in person because of the pandemic. Instead, the organization is live streaming both sunrise and sunset. You can watch it on their Facebook page. Don't forget the time difference! England is 5-hours ahead of us here in Florida.
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