English, Van H. Department of Geography, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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The two days during the year when the Earth is so located in its orbit that the inclination (about 23½°, or 23.45°) of the polar axis is toward the Sun. This occurs on June 21, called the summer solstice, when the North Pole is tilted toward the Sun; and on December 22, called the winter solstice, when the South Pole is tilted toward the Sun (see illustration). The adjectives summer and winter, used above, refer to the Northern Hemisphere; seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.
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