Google Doodle marks summer solstice, start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere

The Doodle shows planet Earth cheerfully gazing up at a summery island-beach scene on its brightly illuminated North Pole.

Google has marked the summer solstice this year – the 'official' start of summer – with a dedicated Doodle on 21 June. The Doodle shows an adorable planet Earth cheerfully gazing up at an island-beach getaway scene on its brightly illuminated North Pole.

The North Pole stays in complete sunlight, not just all day long, but throughout the entire summer (barring the occasional cloud cover). This has lent the Arctic a pretty apt nickname – the land of the "Midnight Sun". Once the day of the summer solstice  (in 2019, this day is 20 June) passes, the Sun begins sinking towards the horizon ever so slowly till the start of winter.

We're not so sure its possible to sit on a beach vacation anywhere near the icy North Pole, where it never gets warm enough to go outdoors wearing a T-shirt, let alone sit by the beach in swimwear and get a nice golden glow. But what the Doodle appears to be celebrating is the official start of all things summer in the entire Northern Hemisphere, of which India is a part.

Today's adorable summer solstice doodle. Image: Google

Today's adorable summer solstice doodle. Image: Google

The day of a summer solstice happens to mark the longest day and the shortest night in the year, with the days growing shorter in duration a little more every day after the summer solstice. This is because the Earth has a tilt in its axis relative to the Sun, which ensures that the North and the South Pole are almost always at different distances from the Sun.

While the Northern hemisphere experiences the longest day of the year somewhere between 20 to 22 June each year, the Southern hemisphere at the same time experiences the opposite – the shortest day of the year marking the first official day of winter. When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa.

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