Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

219,789 subscribers and counting ...

Things to notice at the June solstice

The solstice comes on June 20, 2016 at 22:34 UTC. For North American time zones, that is 6:34 p.m. EDT, 5:34 p.m. CDT, 4:34 p.m. MDT and 3:34 p.m. PDT. This solstice 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.

Woot! June solstice 2016 features a full moon

Solstice brings extremes of daylight and darkness

In N. Hemisphere, noontime shadows are shortest at this solstice

Each solstice marks a “turning” of the year

Longest day for N. Hemisphere, but not the latest sunset

Shortest day for N. Hemisphere, but not the latest sunrise

The slowest sunsets come around the solstices

Read more: June solstice, 2016

Full moon over Rillings Hills near Colorado Springs, Colorado by Forrest Boutin Photography.

Full moon over Rillings Hills near Colorado Springs, Colorado by Forrest Boutin Photography.

June solstice 2016 features a full moon. Watch for a full moon on the solstice this year, the first full moon to fall on the June solstice since the year 1967, the Summer of Love. Click here for more about 2016’s solstice full moon.

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.

View larger. | Abhijit Juvekar in India captured an image of the sunset over a period of months, to show that the sun sets progressively farther north in the months leading up to the June solstice.  Thank you, Abhijit!

View larger. | In the months leading up to the June solstice, the sun sets progressively farther north, that is, toward your right as you stand facing west. Photo by Abhijit Juvekar in India.

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.

Shortest day for S. Hemisphere, but not the latest sunrise. The latest sunrise doesn’t come on the day of the winter solstice. Neither does the earliest sunset. The exact dates vary with latitude, but the sequence is always the same: earliest sunset before the winter solstice, shortest day on the winter solstice, latest sunset after the winter solstice.

Read more about the earliest sunrises here, and read more about the latest sunsets here.

At very northerly latitudes now, the sun is up all night.  Here is the sun at 3 a.m. - as seen on June 18, 2013, by EarthSky Facebook friend Birgit Boden in northern Sweden.  Thank you, Birgit!

At very northerly latitudes now, the sun is up all night. Here is the sun at 3 a.m. – as seen in June, 2013 by EarthSky Facebook friend Birgit Boden in northern Sweden. Thank you, Birgit!

Bottom line: Some quick info that’ll help you connect with nature on this special day, June solstice 2016!

A planisphere is virtually indispensable for beginning stargazers. Order your EarthSky planisphere today.

Help support EarthSky! Check out the EarthSky store for fun astronomy gifts and tools for all ages!

Deborah Byrd

MORE ARTICLES