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For the first time since 1967 the summer solstice coincides with a rare ‘strawberry’ moon

What is the summer solstice?

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year - the day in which we can enjoy approximately 17 hours of daylight.

It might seem like good news, but for those of us in the northern hemisphere this is the time when the sun's path stops moving northward in the sky and the days begin to slowly shorten.

This year it's today, Monday, June 20. The sun rose at 4.45am and sunset will happen at 10.34pm.

What does 'solstice' mean?

The term 'solstice' derives from the Latin word 'solstitium', meaning 'sun standing still'.

Astrologers say the sun seems to 'stand still' at the point on the horizon where it appears to rise and set, before moving off in the reverse direction.

The day marks the ancient middle of summer, even though we haven't had the hottest day.

It has significance for pagans who have always believed that midsummer day holds a special power. Midsummer's eve was believed to be a time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest, and when fairies were though to be at their most powerful.

Stonehenge in Avebury, Wiltshire is the most popular place for Pagans to celebrate the longest day because it famously aligns to the solstices. The rising sun only reaches the middle of the stones one day of the year when it shines on the central alter.

This year, the midsummer solstice is being celebrated at Stonehenge on Saturday into Sunday and at the Avebury stone circle from Friday until Monday.

The English Heritage-run site is expected around 20,000 visitors.

Strawberry Moon

For the first time since 1967 the summer solstice coincides with a rare ‘strawberry’ moon and – clouds willing – the 17 hours of sunlight will give way to a bright moonlit sky.

Despite the name, the moon will not appear pink or red, although it may glow a warm amber. The name was given by the Algonquin tribes of North America who believed June’s full moon signalled the beginning of the strawberry picking season.

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