Thursday, June 20, 2024

It's the Summer Solstice

As I started typing this we passed the exact minute of this years summer solstice, 4:51PM EDT. It's now officially summer, and today is the longest day of the year. I sometimes wonder if anyone has ever measured that with the extremely accurate clocks we have these days. There's always some wobble to the Earth such that times can move around with days milliseconds longer or shorter than predicted. Today is supposed to be 1.2175 milliseconds shorter than 24 hours. 

The sunrise/sunset app I have on my phone (really old - I think it's not supported anymore) says sunrise this morning was in the minute it calls 6:26 AM. The earliest sunrise of the year was called 6:25 AM and the phone app said sunrise was 6:25 from June 1 until yesterday. Sunrises will get later every morning from here until the new year. Sunset, meanwhile is 8:22 and doesn't reach the latest sunset of the year, 8:23, until June 27 and stays there until July 5th. After that, sunsets get earlier until around the end of November. 

You were expecting symmetry?

It's there, but not what you expect. Sunrise and sunset don't both smoothly get earlier and later reaching their min/max on the solstice. Earliest sunrise is before the solstice, latest sunset is after. In the summer. In the winter, the earliest sunset is before the solstice, late November/early December and latest sunrise is after it - the first week of January. That seems like mirror image symmetry. 

I went looking through the blog history searching for articles on this and found that I haven't written about the summer solstice before, but have written about the winter solstice a few times. It's probably at least partly because I greatly prefer our winter over our summer, so I look forward to the winter solstice more. Back when Mrs. Graybeard and I used to ride our bikes together a standard line was about being tired of summer by the time we got to the first day.


  1. The weather people have a concept called "meteorological summer" which in the US is June 1 to August 31. So after three weeks of heat, you should be tired of it.

    And this is just a relative term since summer can be 2 to 6 months long depending on where in the US you live and how that year is going.

    1. And this is just a relative term since summer can be 2 to 6 months long depending on where in the US you live and how that year is going. Absolutely.

      I tend to think of our summer as being from around May 15 to September 30. I know I've regularly made reference to it being August 40th or some number beyond 31 to imply that it still felt like summer.

  2. Kids out of school? It's summer.
    Kids back in school? It's fall.

    Every parent knows this...