What is Summer?
Summer is the season that comes after spring and before fall. In many places, summer is the warmest time of the whole year. During summer, sunrise happens earlier and sunset happens later, which gives us more hours of daylight. The longest day of the year, called the Summer Solstice (say: SOLE-stiss), happens in June. This year the Summer Solstice is on June 20 — that means that June 20 is the longest day of the whole year!
You might know that it takes one year for the earth to move around the sun one time. As the earth moves around the sun, it is tilted slightly to one side, similar to how a globe looks with the north pole slightly off center. Have you heard of the equator? It is an imaginary line around the middle of the earth that divides earth into two halves, a northern half and a southern half. In summer, the earth is tilted so that the Northern Hemisphere (including the United States Canada, and parts of Europe) gets the most sun. While it’s summer for us, those living in the Southern Hemisphere (including South America and Australia) are experiencing the cold weather of winter. The sun shines directly on the equator all year, so how warm or cold your seasons are depends on how far away you live from the equator. If you live close to the equator, you probably don’t experience very big changes in temperature when the seasons change.
The sun gives us warmth and light. In the Northern Hemisphere, there are many green, growing things during spring and summer. This is because plants need sunlight and water to grow. Flowers, vegetables, and other plants all grow during the summer!
Have you ever noticed that it is sometimes cooler in the shade? This is because the sun is not hitting the ground directly. When the sun hits the ground, the ground soaks in the heat. During summer the days are longer. Longer days mean more sunlight is coming down on us, and more sunlight means more heat, which makes the days warmer.