Father's Day, which will be celebrated on June 20, 2021, promises to be extra special this year. The Earth will join in the festivities with the June solstice, kicking off the Northern Hemisphere's first day of summer. Conversely, Southern Hemisphere residents will celebrate the astronomical start of winter, or winter solstice, with the shortest day of 2021.
Juneteenth — a combination of the words June and nineteenth — is one of the oldest known holidays commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19, 1865, that the nation's last enslaved people — a group in Texas — learned that slavery had been outlawed and that they were free. The events leading to what many call "America's true Independence Day" began with the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.
In the early hours of June 5, 2021, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) welcomed some unusual visitors: 128 baby bobtail squids and 5,000 tardigrades. The micro-animals were part of SpaceX's 22nd cargo resupply mission that delivered over 7,300 pounds of equipment and supplies — including treats like fresh apples and oranges — to the station. NASA researchers hope that the tiny critters will enable them to better understand the impacts of space travel on the human body.
Donut lovers, rejoice! Friday, June 4, 2021, is National Donut Day. That means it is your civic duty to consume at least one — or even a dozen — of the delicious confections. The fun US holiday, observed annually on the first Friday of June, was started in 1938 by the Salvation Army to help raise funds for those in need.
Simone Biles, the world's most decorated gymnast, is well-known for performing moves so tricky and unique that many have been named after her. On May 22, 2021, the 24-year-old phenom made history again by becoming the first woman to perform a Yurchenko double pike in a competition. Even more impressive, the US Classic in Indianapolis, where Biles' accomplished the feat, was the gymnast's first meet since the COVID-19 pandemic caused all events to be canceled in early 2020.
Memorial Day, which will be celebrated on May 31, 2021, is one of the most important American holidays. Observed annually on the last Monday of May, it honors the brave men and women of the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard, Air Force, and the Coast Guard who sacrificed their lives to defend America's freedom. Meanwhile, Veterans Day, which takes place each year on November 11, honors all veterans — living or dead—but mainly gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
While total lunar eclipses are always spectacular, the one on May 26, 2021, promises to be particularly memorable given that it coincides with a supermoon. This means that the Moon — which will be at perigee, or its closest distance to Earth — will appear about 7 percent larger and 15 percent brighter than a standard full Moon. The eclipse will be most visible from the western parts of the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, and Eastern Asia. In the US, the best views will be reserved for Hawaii, Alaska, and the western states.
Given that white was one of the first colors used in art in the 15th century, one would think that there is little room left to improve its "whiteness." It turns out that is far from the case. A team of researchers led by Xiulin Ruan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Indiana's Purdue University, recently revealed an "ultra-white" paint that they believe could even help combat climate change.