From a basic knowledge of astronomy, Filipinos would know that the reason the country never has snow in December when places like America do, is due to their positioning on the world. As close to the equator as the Philippines is, its tropical location cuts down the possible four seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter) to just two (dry/summer and wet/rainy). But all countries regardless of seasons share something in common. They have two days in a year when daytime and nighttime are equal, a day when the night is longest, and a day when daytime lasts longest. This Friday, Filipinos will experience the longest period of daylight for 2019.
ABS-CBN News reports that this June 21, the Philippines will have its summer solstice. It is the one day in the year when the daytime is at its longest duration and the night is shortest, although that statement is not entirely accurate. This Friday is when the solstice actually happens, and not the entirety of the day itself. Word on the summer solstice has been officially announced by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The national weather bureau pegs the moment of solstice as occurring at 11:54 this evening, on Philippine Time.
To put it in perspective, ever since the Philippines (and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere of Earth) experienced the Spring Equinox last March 20, when daytime and nighttime were balance for the first time this year, the daylight hours have been steadily getting longer, ultimately reaching its maximum this June 21. Once this moment passes, the days will start getting shorter as the Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun. The opposite is in effect in the Southern Hemisphere, where today they have their shortest daytime and longest evening.
While the summer solstice is not quite celebrated in tropical Philippines, it is especially venerated in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. As CNN Philippines tells it, in places such as the UK, many people attend ceremonial observances of the summer solstice, or midsummer. The best observances are done in the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge. Its standing pillars actually match perfectly with the position of the sun in the various solstices and equinoxes. As the sun rises on their Friday, 4:52 British time, it will be positioned on top of the so-called “Heel Stone” of Stonehenge, with the sunlight hitting the center of the formation as viewed from there.
For reference, the Philippines will have their second equinox of the year on September 23. And on December 22, during the Misa de Gallo period, Filipinos can experience 2019’s longest night during the winter solstice. Do not expect snowfall, though.
Image courtesy of Inquirer.net