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Longest day with shortest shadow

india Updated: Jun 22, 2006 15:52 IST
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If you didn't find your shadow at 12.23 pm on Wednesday, here's the reason — it was the summer solstice occurring on the longest day of the year when the sun rose to its highest.

Children and other enthusiasts queued up at the Jantar Mantar observatory in the Capital as science books came to life. The Nehru Planetarium and the Amateur Astronomers Association arranged presentations on the rare scene.

People in Ujjain, Ranchi and Durgapur found no shadow around 12 noon as these regions are closest to the Tropic of Cancer on the day. "During the day, the northern hemisphere experiences the shortest shadow," said R. Rathnasree, director, Nehru Planetarium.


The phenomenon is also the stuff of creativity. It is believed that William Shakespeare used it as inspiration for A Midsummer's Night's Dream, relying on the belief that the solstice causes irrational behaviour and magical acts.

The day was also believed to be a perfect date for the weddings as Aragorn and Arwen's nuptials take place on the day according to JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, falls on December 22 when the sun in New Delhi will rise at 7.10 am and set at 5.29 pm.

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