Muncie, Indiana (written by Adam Young/Star Press) -- With recent soaring temperatures and the lack of rain in many places compounding the heat, one might think it's been summer for the past two months.
Yet, today is the solstice that marks the first official day of summer.
Celebrated for thousands of years in different cultures across the globe, the solstice represents the beginning of a new season, one that allows people to get outside and interact.
Although the weather is warm and the skies are clear, the solstice is a scientific event, according to Joe Skowronek, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.
"The earth is tilted at 23.5 degrees and as it goes around the sun, it is always tilted at that angle," he said.
In the winter, our hemisphere leans away from the sun and leans toward it in the summer. Today, it will be at its closest point to the star at exactly 7:09 p.m. EDT and the sun will appear the highest in the sky all year.
This also explains why the days are so long. Today should be anywhere from 16 to 17 hours of daylight.
That daylight works out well for people like Barnell Vance, 40, who is frequently outside working for Muncie (Ind.) Sanitation and just enjoying the weather in his spare time. Vance said he had a few things planned for the coming summer days.
"Just swimming," he said. "Taking my daughter swimming, riding my motorcycle, yard work of course."
Vance said he and his family plan on taking a few vacations and that it was important to him to enjoy the weather.
"The main thing is staying outside," he said.
Others across the country might want to stay inside in front of the air conditioner. Forecasters expect the hottest temperatures of the season to span from Chicago to the Northeast.
Did you know?
-- The summer solstice is the longest day of the year.
-- The day typically has 16 to 17 hours of daylight.
-- The sun is at its highest point in the sky.
-- The earth's axis has a 23.5 degree tilt.
-- Because of the sun's position, the northern hemisphere gets direct solar radiation.