UMass-Amherst is marking the shortest night of the year with a pair of special summer solstice celebrations at its Sunwheel

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AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — UMass-Amherst is marking the shortest night of the year with a pair of special summer solstice celebrations at its Sunwheel.

The public is invited to witness sunset and sunrise on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday at 5 a.m.

The solstice marks the astronomical start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. On the dates closest to the moment of the solstice, nights are shortest and days are longest in the Northern Hemisphere and the sun rises and sets at its most northerly spot along the horizon.

UMass astronomer Stephen Schneider will discuss the astronomical cause of the solstice at both events, as well as the Sunwheel and other calendar sites at Stonehenge and Chankillo, Peru.

The Sunwheel is near the football stadium.