We use the beautiful photo above in honor of the upcoming June solstice. It’s from one of our favorite sky photographers, Dan Bush. What … solstice time already? Yes. The solstice comes on June 21, 2014 at 10:51 UTC. For North American time zones, that places the solstice at 6:51 a.m. EDT, 5:51 a.m. CDT, 4:51 a.m. MDT and 3:51 a.m. PDT. It brings the northernmost sun for the year, as seen from around the globe. This post will give you some quick info on things to look for during this solstice. Follow the links below to learn more.
Solstice brings extremes of daylight and darkness. Earth’s orbit around the sun – and tilt on its axis – have brought us to a place in space where our world’s Northern Hemisphere has its time of greatest daylight: its longest day and shortest night. Meanwhile, the June solstice brings the shortest day and longest night south of the equator.
In N. Hemisphere, noontime shadows are shortest at this solstice On this solstice, the sun takes its most northerly path across the sky for the year. It’s the year’s highest sun, as seen from the tropic of Cancer and all places north. Thus your noontime shadow is shortest. In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite is true. This solstice marks the lowest sun and longest noontime shadow for those on the southern part of Earth’s globe.
Each solstice marks a “turning” of the year. Even as this northern summer begins with the solstice, throughout the world the solstice also represents a “turning” of the year. To many cultures, the solstice can mean a limit or a culmination of something. From around the world, the sun is now setting and rising as far north as it ever does. The solstice marks when the sun reaches its northernmost point for the year. After the June solstice, the sun will begin its subtle shift southward on the sky’s dome again. Thus even in summer’s beginning, we find the seeds of summer’s end.
Longest day for N. Hemisphere, but not the latest sunset. The latest sunset doesn’t come on the day of the summer solstice. Neither does the earliest sunrise. The exact dates vary with latitude, but the sequence is always the same: earliest sunrise before the summer solstice, longest day on the summer solstice, latest sunset after the summer solstice.
Bottom line: The June solstice comes on June 21 at 10:51 UTC or 5:51 a.m. Central Daylight Time for us in central U.S. There is no official beginning to summer or winter; no world body has designated it so. Yet many will call this day the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the beginning of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.