Summer solstice, full moon coincide Monday for rare occurrence

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DENVER — The longest day of the year is upon us.

Monday brings the summer solstice, which marks the beginning of the season and a chance to soak in copious amounts of sunshine.

The solstice is celebrated by a variety of cultures worldwide. Every year, thousands gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, to rejoice the prospect of sunny summer days.

As if this day wasn’t already a wonderful excuse to run outside, Monday will also feature a full “Strawberry” moon — the name comes from the belief that strawberry-picking season is at its peak during this time of the year, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

Monday’s full moon, which is also called the Mead Moon or the Rose Moon, is the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all evening long. Normally, throughout June, the moon shares some time with the daytime sky, according to Sky & Telescope.

It’s the first time a full moon, which happened at 5:02 a.m., is coming on the same day as the summer solstice since 1948, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac..

The summer sun will reach its most northerly point, directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer at 23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude at 4:34 p.m. In Denver, there will be 14 hours, 59 minutes and 17 seconds of daylight, the longest of the year.

This time of year is celebrated not only in different cultures, but also in literature.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer,” author F. Scott Fitzgerald writes in “The Great Gatsby.”

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