In The Desert
Summer Solstice 2011
June 21st, 2011
Longest day of the year!
We all know this as the longest day of the year in the desert, and the first day of summer. Other cultures viewed this day as a religious symbol, and day to plant crops, celebrate festivals, and keep time. People the world over still celebrate this day.
Time Lapse of this years solstice in Parowan Gap.
Many other locations throughout the southwest are visited to view the summer solstice. A lot of the ruins in the Four Corners area are visited to witness this event. This is an interesting event to take part in. More on Parowan Gap can be found HERE.
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2011 - Don & Linda Gilmore
The Ancient cultures all over the world built buildings, towers and monuments so they could recognize this day. Stonehenge, Mayan temples, Egyptian monuments and Anasazi ruins being the most prominent. This is the day when the sun reaches it's highest point in the sky. The day always falls on June 20 or the 21st. In the Southern hemisphere is falls on Dec. 21 or the 22nd. In the polar regions (where daylight is continuous for many months), the day on which the summer solstice occurs is the day of the year with the longest period of daylight. The Aztecs, Olmecs, Toltecs, Mayans, and Incas (just to name a few), recognized this day in their long count calendars. The Native American Indians as well as the Anasazi also recognized this day. This day signifies the coming of warmer weather, the planting of crops, the end of the school year, and most importantly (for modern day viewers), -- vacation time!
People travel to exotic places in the desert southwest to witness the summer solstice, this year on the 21st of June. For example; in the Parowan Gap there were over a hundred people this year photographing and viewing the setting of the sun in the Gap. Native American's set out rock cairns to locate the correct position to view the setting of the sun in the bottom of the V at the Gap. They also marked the location of the winter solstice, fall and spring equinoxes. These cairns have almost disappeared with only a few big rocks left to show us where they held their celebrations. See the map below.
Parowan Gap, Utah
Solstice Locators, Map
The map below shows the approximate locations of the rock cairns and the alignment with the setting sun for the summer solstice and the winter solstice.