Summer in South Louisiana doesn't ever seem to wait until June 21st to get started. We've seen afternoon temperatures in the low to middle 90-degree range for over a month and today will be no different. Well, there is a slight difference. Today actually begins the Summer season.

It's often referred to as the Summer solstice. I am going out on a limb in guessing that you have no idea what a "solstice" is. Neither did I. But here's what I found out. Solstice comes from the Latin words sol and sistere. Sol means sun and sistere means "to stand still". And that's exactly what the sun appears to do on the Summer solstice. It's an optical illusion that makes the sun appear to just hang in the sky.

Ancient cultures figured out that this day had special meaning simply based on their observations of the sun and stars. There will be large crowds flocking to Stonehenge in England as modern day astronomers and fans of the heavens will gather to celebrate the solstice.

In Alaska, there will be midnight baseball, outside, because the sun doesn't really set during the summer months in Alaska. Certainly in the southern part of the state, there are periods of dusk-like darkness but for the most part, it's daylight all day.

Despite what you might think because of the heat, the Earth is not closer to the sun during the summer months in the northern hemisphere. In fact, our planet is at its farthest from the sun during this time of year.

The reason the temperatures are hotter is that the Earth's angle of inclination allows for a direct impact of the sun's rays. The opposite holds true in winter. We may be closer but the angle of inclination is tilted away from the sun's rays.

So, there you go, enough facts and tidbits about the first day of Summer to keep you from annoying your friends, family, and co-workers with the mind-numbing query. : "Hot enough for you"?

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