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What is the summer solstice and why is today the 'longest' one of the year?

Published: Monday, June 20, 2016 @ 9:02 AM
Updated: Monday, June 20, 2016 @ 9:09 AM

            STONEHENGE SOLSTICE--The sun rises as thousands of revellers gathered at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, near Salisbury, England, Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
            Tim Ireland

If you are looking to soak up some sun, today would be the day to do it. 

Today marks the summer solstice, and  for those in the Northern hemisphere, you will see more daylight on Monday than any other day of the year.  

What  is the summer  solstice and what does that have to do with the longest day of the year?  Here’s a quick look at what it means.

What is it?

The solstice happens when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky relative to the equator, meaning the Northern Hemisphere is tilted fully toward the sun. In fact, the North Pole is tilted far enough toward the sun to where the Arctic Circle will see 24 hours of daylight.

Where is the northern most point for the sun on Monday?  

The sun will reach its most northerly point when it hits 23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude – in the Tropic of Cancer.

When does it do that?

In 2016, the solstice falls on June 20 at 6:34 p.m. ET. 

Wait, isn’t it on the same day every year?

The summer solstice happens each year between June 20-22. Why isn’t it on the same day every year? Blame it on math. The fact that the date floats is due, in part, to the difference between the Gregorian calendar system, which normally has 365 days, and the tropical year (how long it takes Earth to orbit the Sun one time), which is about 365.242199 days, according to The Farmer’s Almanac. The Georgian calendar adds a leap day every four years to make up for the extra .242199. The leap day, along with other factors,  moves the summer solstice backward and forward on the calendar by a couple of days.

Why is it the longest day of the year?

It’s known as the longest  day of the year not because it’s any longer than any other day,  but because in the Northern Hemisphere,  it’s the day that  receives the most hours of daylight. It receives the most sunlight because the Earth is tilted  toward the sun for the longest time during a day.

If it is the longest day of the year and it’s summertime, why isn’t it the hottest day of the  year?

It’s not the hottest day of the year because the Earth releases the energy it absorbs at various rates – but it never releases it instantly.  On Monday, the Earth will receive the most energy from the sun, but will release that energy  in late July or August, usually. This effect, according to Weather Works,  is called seasonal temperature lag. 

What's different about this year?

Look up at the moon tonight and you will see it is full. That's the first time that the moon has been full on a summer solstice since 1948.

Obama denounces 'fundamental meanness' of Senate GOP health care bill

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:44 AM

Former President of the United States Barack Obama after a discussion about democracy at Church Congress on May 25, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Steffi Loos/Getty Images)
Steffi Loos/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama criticized a Republican Senate bill proposed Thursday that would repeal and replace parts of his signature Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, calling the measure bad for Americans and saying that it has “fundamental meanness” at its core.

>> Read more trending news

“Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm,” Obama wrote Thursday in a lengthy Facebook post. “It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it.”

Senate GOP leaders unveiled the 142-page proposed ACA replacement Thursday. It would repeal the ACA’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance, make deep cuts to Medicaid and withhold federal funding to Planned Parenthood for a year.

“The Senate bill … is not a health care bill,” Obama wrote. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. 

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen...

Posted by Barack Obama on Thursday, June 22, 2017

“It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.”

He acknowledged that Republicans have long promised to repeal the ACA, but urged lawmakers to put aside partisan politics while working to address America’s health care system.

>> Related: Senate health care bill: What is in it? Read it here

“I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake and consider that the rationale for action, on healthcare or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did,” he wrote.

As he has multiple times since the ACA’s passage in 2010, Obama conceded that the bill was less than perfect and vowed to support any Republican-backed bill that “is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost.”

“I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse,” he wrote.

He called on citizens to pressure lawmakers into working with each other by calling and visiting members of Congress and sharing their stories about how the proposed bill will affect them.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he hopes to bring the GOP bill to a vote before Congress breaks for its Fourth of July recess.

Florida woman forced to marry rapist at 11 years old

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 3:20 PM

A Florida woman shared her story of how she was raped as a child, got pregnant at 10 years old and then legally married her rapist at age 11. 

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Sherry Johnson, now 57, told WTSP that she “was raped repeatedly” while living in an apartment building attached to her church in Tampa. 

>>Florida woman accused of raping 6-year-old ‘five or six times’ with father

“The deacon had keys, and so he would come in when he got ready, and guess where he would come? My room,” she told WTSP. 

When Johnson got pregnant, she told WTSP she didn’t even know what it meant. She was sent by her mother to Miami in 1970 to have the baby and then got legally married to her rapist, who was 20, in 1971, WTSP reported. Johnson’s mother, who was very involved with the church, took her daughter to Pinellas County to have a judge sign off on the marriage after court officials in Hillsborough County refused to issue a marriage license.

Johnson’s mother made her a wedding dress, a veil and a wedding cake.

Johnson described her marriage as “a living hell,” and had five more children with her husband, according to WTSP. She filed for divorce at age 18.

>>VIDEO: ‘Failed’ marriage proposal at baseball stadium goes viral

“We didn't really talk that much, I was there for sex only. We didn't have conversations,” Johnson said to WTSP.

Current Florida law does not prevent child marriage and allows girls under 18 to get married “when a child or pregnancy is involved,” WTSP reported. 

“That's why I won't stop,” Johnson, who wrote a book about her experience, said. “That’s why I'm going to do everything I possibly can that no one has to go through this. It’s not fair. It’s not right, and we shouldn’t allow it to happen.”

Read the full story at WTSP.com

‘Don’t wait up!’ college student’s mother says in viral photos with football players

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 4:42 PM

Blend Images/Pete Saloutos/Getty Images/Blend Images

A Texas State University student called her mother a cougar after the mother posed with at least four members of the school’s football team in photos that went viral. 

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Avery Foster, an incoming freshman at Texas State posted screenshots of text messages with her mother Monday on Twitter. 

“My mom dropped me off today for college freshman orientation and she sends me this,” Foster wrote. 

The messages show pictures of Foster’s mother posing with the players, throwing up the university’s hand sign and pretending to be tackled.

“I made some friends. Don’t wait up!” Foster’s mother wrote. 

According to KVUE, Avery later found out parents of students were invited to eat dinner on the school’s football field, where some players were practicing. School officials told parents anyone who took a silly picture at the school would be entered for a chance to win a $500 scholarship for their child. 

>> Related: Megachurch pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen criticized for throwing ‘Hook ‘Em’ hand sign

“A lot of people were trying to hide that they were taking selfies with the football players in the background,” Foster said, according to KSAT. “My mom decided she wasn't going to hide trying to take a picture, so she went straight up to the football players and asked for pictures.”

Foster’s tweet of her mother’s photos was liked more than 450,000 times on Twitter as of Friday morning.

>> Related: Matthew McConaughey offers college students safe ride home

One of the football players responded to Foster’s tweet, saying, “Let’s do breakfast. Bring your mom.”

The scholarship winner will be announced in August, KVUE reported.

Geese get police escort on highway

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:19 AM

A goose. (Photo: Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

A gaggle of geese got a police escort recently as they waddled down a highway.

The Greenwood Village police kept other drivers away as the geese, who were walking in the shoulder, meandered along Interstate 25.

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“They were escorted away from I-25 under heavy police escort and delivered to their home safely....all lives matter to the GVPD,” the department wrote with the video on social media.

The video was recorded last week but shared Wednesday.