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June 20, Thursday, Will See the Earliest Solstice in 228 Years

Earliest Solstice in 228 Years

The summer solstice in 2024 will be 45 minutes earlier than last year’s and the earliest in 228 years. Thanks to the quirks in the Gregorian calendar, the solstice will keep getting earlier until 2096.

The reason behind this is interesting!

We know there’s a leap year of 366 days (every four years) to account for the fact that it takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds precisely for the Earth to complete one orbit of the Sun. Although February 29 adds 24 hours, four lots of 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds do not equal 24 hours. So, to avoid drift over the years, the Gregorian calendar skips three leap days every four centuries. In a fascinating twist, a leap year will be skipped in 2100, making it a non-leap century, further adding to the intrigue of this celestial event.

The summer solstice, often referred to as the longest day, is a significant event in our history. It marks the day with the most hours of daylight, occurring when the Earth reaches its maximum tilt toward the Sun. This year’s solstice, falling on June 20, will be the earliest since June 20, 1796, during the presidency of George Washington, adding a historical touch to this celestial event.