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The science and culture of the summer solstice in 18 colorful images.

The summer solstice is culture and science all wrapped up in one.

For some, it's a day to dress up in your "Silver Lake Shaman" best and throw a party. To science types, it's technically the days when our planet's rotational axis is most inclined toward the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, that happens every year on June 20-21 while in the Southern Hemisphere, it's Dec. 20-21.

In the U.S., the summer solstice is largely an unofficial holiday. But in many countries, like Sweden, it's a time for love. "A lot of children are born nine months after Midsummer in Sweden," according to Swedish ethnologist Jan-Öjvind Swahn.


For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Here's how some have marked the moment.

Thousands started the day by making the trek to Stonehenge. It's widely believed the historic landmark was used to mark the occasion when the sun reaches its zenith in the sky.

Epic photography ensued.

Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images.

Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images.

Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images.

Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images.

June 21 also just happens to be the International Day of Yoga, giving people a chance to blend the two occasions.

Photo by Timothy Clary/Getty Images.

Photo by Timothy Clary/Getty Images.

Photo by Timothy Clary/Getty Images.

But science has a lot to say about solstices, too.

NASA dropped some fun facts.

And, of course, Neil deGrasse Tyson was there in signature fashion to get hilariously technical about it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shared this incredible satellite view as the solstice formally made its way across the planet.

And here's a nice visual breakdown of seasonal changes:

While we're celebrating the sun, don't forget to respect its power. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan took a moment to encourage everyone stepping out to use sunscreen.

Not to be outdone by their Stonehenge neighbors, crowds gathered in Avebury, England, near another historic neolithic henge that has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Meanwhile, the tiny Russian village of Glubokovo is home to an ancient pagan ceremony, one of the oldest known summer solstice celebrations in the world. While most solstice events honor the rising sun, this annual affair flips the script to mark one of the year'sshortest nights.

Photo by Andrei Borodulina/Getty Images.

Photo by Andrei Borodulina/Getty Images.

Photo by Andrei Borodulina/Getty Images.

Meanwhile, other people there decided it was the right time to heroically take a nap.

We salute you.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

As the world shifts on its axis, it's a time to reflect on our relationship with the only home we've got.

The return of summer months can be a welcome respite from a long, cold winter. Maybe you'll hit up a barbecue, do some yoga, or chant to your deity. Maybe it will just be another day. That's OK, too.

However you mark the occasion, there's no other day quite like it.

Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

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Man hailed 'Highway Hero' for running across four lanes of traffic

Holy cow, Bat Man! You're always supposed to be aware of other vehicles when you're driving but what do you do when you notice someone has lost consciousness while speeding down the highway?

It's a scenario that no one wants to see play out, but for Adolfo Molina, the scenario became reality and he didn't hesitate to spring into action. Molina was driving down the highway when he spotted a woman in a blue car who lost consciousness as her car careened down the shoulder of the highway. The concerned driver quickly pulled over in order to attempt to rescue the woman.

But there was a problem, he had to cross four lanes of traffic on the highway just to make it to the woman's still moving car. That obstacle didn't stop him. Molina sprinted across the highway, crossing right in front of a black pick up truck before running at full speed to attempt to open the woman's door and stop her car.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Internet

Relationship expert tells people to never get married unless you're willing to do 3 things

"If you and your partner (both) are unable or unwilling to do these 3 things consistently forever, you won’t make it."

Relationship expert gives people advice on getting married.

Being in a relationship can be difficult at times. Learning someone else's quirks, boundaries, and deep views on the world can be eye-opening and hard. But usually, the happy chemicals released in our brain when we love someone can cause us to overlook things in order to keep the peace.

Jayson Gaddis, a relationship expert, took to Twitter to rip off people's rose-colored glasses and tell them to forego marriage. Honestly, with the divorce rate in this country being as high as it is, he probably could've stopped his tweet right there. Don't get married, the end. Many people would've probably related and not questioned the bold statement, but thankfully he followed up with three things you must be willing to do before going to the chapel.

Before going into his reasons for why he tells people not to get married, Gaddis explained that he is a person that "LOVEs being married." I mean, it would probably make him a pretty weird relationship expert if he hated relationships, so it's probably a good thing he enjoys being married. Surely his spouse appreciates his stance as well.

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Humanitarian Helen Keller circa 1920.

In a 1954 documentary short, humanitarian Helen Keller expressed that her greatest regret in life was being unable to speak clearly. But given that she could not see or hear, her speech was quite remarkable.

Keller was born in 1880 and, at the age of 18 months, contracted an unknown illness that left her deaf and blind. But with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, she was able to overcome her disabilities and become an outspoken advocate for the voiceless and oppressed.

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Pop Culture

10 years ago, a 'Stairway to Heaven' performance brought Led Zeppelin's surviving members to tears

Heart, John Bonham's son and a full choir came together for the epic tribute.

Led Zeppelin got to see their iconic hit performed for them.

When Billboard and Rolling Stone pull together their "Best Songs of All Time" lists, there are some tunes you know for sure will be included. Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is most definitely one of them.

It has everything—the beauty of a ballad, the grunginess of a rock song, the simple solo voice, and the band in full force. "Stairway to Heaven" takes us on a musical journey, and even people who aren't necessarily giant Led Zeppelin or classic rock fans can't help but nod or sing along to it.

Of course, it's also been so ubiquitous (or overplayed, as some would claim) to become a meme among musicians. Signs saying "No Stairway to Heaven" in guitar stores point to how sick of the song many guitarists get, and when Oregon radio station KBOO told listeners they would never play the song again if someone pledged $10,000, Led Zepelin singer Robert Plant himself called in and gave the donation.

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