Summer solstice officially begins on Saturday
Friday, June 20, 2014, 3:53 -
Saturday, June 21 at 6:51 a.m. is the official summer solstice, which marks the beginning of astronomical summer.
It's the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and the shortest in the southern hemisphere.
After Saturday, the days will start to get shorter.
Day and night will be more or less equal length on September 23, the autumnal equinox.
The term 'solstice' is derived from a combination of the Latin words 'sol' and 'stice', which translate into 'sun standing still.'
“For observers in the northern hemisphere, on the first day of summer, the sun appears to rise at the same place on the horizon -- hence the origin of the word," astronomy communicator, Andrew Fazekas, told The Weather Network in 2011.
In the past, this celebration marked the beginning and end of the growing season.
Many cultures across the planet consider the summer solstice a time of rebirth.