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Summer solstice 2012 arrives much smoother than the longest day of the year last year

 Summer solstice -- where'd it go?
The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, has arrived and gone.

Perhaps you were among the many who missed this year's summer solstice.  Summer solstice traditionally takes place June 21, which was yesterday. But this year -- sneaky, sneaky -- the summer solstice arrived June 20.

This means that many people (including yours truly) did not get the opportunity to stand outdoors, look to the skies and relish the few extra rays of sunlight delivered courtesy of the summer solstice, which marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

More important, the summer solstice marks the start of the best season of all: summer. (Why is summer better than all the rest? Because it's the only season dedicated to flip flops and umbrella drinks.)
Some parts of the country don't need a calendar to know that summer has arrived along with the summer solstice.
At Stonehenge in Great Britain, modern druids flocked this morning to the ancient ruins to watch the sun rise on a soggy moor in Wiltshire County.
On this side of the Atlantic, the summer solstice arrived precisely at 7:09 p.m. EDT on Wednesday evening.
In West Michigan, it was much smoother sailing than the summer solstice storms of 2011.
Last year, the summer solstice made a dramatic entrance with flashes of lightning, drumrolls of thunder and 60 mph winds that left scattered power outages, flooded streets, and the threat of a tornado.
Powerful gusts severely damaged a pair of private aircraft hangars at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, injuring three people.
Typically, the summer solstice falls on June 21, but this year the Sun reached its highest position in the sky, as seen from the North Pole, on Wednesday evening.
In Detroit, Wednesday officially had 15 hours, 16 minutes and 55 seconds of daylight between sunrise at 5:55 a.m. and sunset at 9:12 p.m.
Today is exactly one second shorter, and the amount of daylight will continue to diminish for the next six months.
The solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole.
The word “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol,” meaning sun, and “sistere,” which means “to stand still.” That’s because on the day of the summer and winter solstice, the sun appears to come to a stop before reversing direction.
The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In many cultures the solstices mark either the beginning or the midpoint of winter.