Summer Solstice: How to Catch a Glimpse of Mars and Venus in the Sky | Science and technology news
The summer solstice is here, signaling the start of summer in the northern hemisphere and the start of winter below the equator.
It will take place on Wednesday 21st June at 15:57 BST.
It marks the longest day and shortest night of the year, and 2023 is expected to witness a solstice gathering of the Moon, Mars and Venus.
According to Stellarium maps, these will be visible in London as they near the western horizon.
What is the summer solstice?
During a summer solstice, there is more daylight during the day and hours at night are minimal.
“Most people think of the summer solstice as one day, in reality it is an exact time that falls on that day. That moment comes when the hemisphere you are in is at its most tilted toward the sun,” as the Royal Museums Greenwich put it.
This is how you watch
While it may be possible to see them with the naked eye, hopefully binoculars or a telescope will allow for a more visible close-up of the three planets.
Venus can be observed during the day and looks like a bright white flare against the blue sky.
Once the sun goes down, the moon, Venus and Mars are expected to be more visible.
According to Space.com, Mars will be near Venus, adding: “Approximately 4 degrees to the upper left will be Mars, which appears to be rather faint. You’ll probably need binoculars to even see it in the bright twilight, even after Venus becomes apparent.
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We celebrate the summer solstice at Stonehenge
Around the world, people celebrate the summer solstice in different ways.
In the United Kingdom, Stonehenge has been the center of celebrations as the stones are lined up to frame the sunrise at the solstice.
In Sweden, the festival is known as Midsummer and is often celebrated in the countryside.
Traditionally, this is where you meet up with friends and family while putting up a maypole and dancing around it.
During this period, people also decorate their houses with greenery and enjoy food and drink.
In the US, thousands of yoga enthusiasts gather in New York’s Times Square to celebrate the start of summer with free yoga.