Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

June 21, 2007

Blessed Midsummer

The summer solstice is upon us today, the longest day of the year. I have seen pictures of the celebration at Stonehenge and it looks like that would be a lot of fun to attend! I wasn't going to do a post for summer solstice, since I am not a summer person, but on the other hand, it now means that it's going to start getting darker as we head into fall and winter, so that makes me very happy. Summer Solstice Artwork by April White, of Turtle Island, in Kelowna, British Columbia. Her artwork and shop feature Northwest Native designs, including the Haida and Coast Salish.

"Solstice, from the Latin for sun stands still, in astronomy, either of the two points on the ecliptic that lie midway between the equinoxes (separated from them by an angular distance of 90°).
At the solstices the sun's apparent position on the celestial sphere reaches its greatest distance above or below the celestial equator, about 23 1/2° of arc. At the time of summer solstice, about June 22, the sun is directly overhead at noon at the Tropic of Cancer.

In the Northern Hemisphere the longest day and shortest night of the year occur on this date, marking the beginning of summer. At winter solstice, about December 22, the sun is overhead at noon at the Tropic of Capricorn; this marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. For several days before and after each solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky, i.e., its noontime elevation does not seem to change from day to day."

Here are some sunrise and sunset times:

Reykjavik, Iceland: 2:55 a.m. 12:04 a.m.
Yellowknife, NW Territories, Canada: 3:30 a.m. 11:40 p.m.
Anchorage, Alaska: 4:20 a.m. 11:43 p.m.
London, England: 4:43 a.m. 9:21 p.m.
Vancouver, British Columbia: 5:07 a.m. 9:21 p.m.
Boston, Massachusetts: 5:08 a.m. 8:25 p.m.
Tacoma, Washington: 5:14 a.m. 9:10 p.m.
Salem, Oregon: 5:26 a.m. 9:02 p.m.
San Francisco, California: 5:48 a.m. 8:35 p.m.
Madrid, Spain: 6:45 a.m. 9:48 p.m.
Pretoria, South Africa (their winter solstice) 6:53 a.m. 5:25 p.m.

Update per Val's request:
New York City: 5:24 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

What I find interesting is that the sunrise in Boston & Vancouver BC is a minute apart, but sunset in Boston is nearly an hour earlier than in Vancouver. The sunrise in London is earlier than Vancouver BC by 24 minutes, but the sun sets at the same time. And what's up with Madrid? The sun rises later than most, but then sets later than most!

And Axe, in South Africa, is in winter solstice, being in the Southern Hemisphere.

At least it's cool and cloudy here today. Back in California, we'd already see 90 degree temperatures for days on end, with unrelenting sun for months and months. I'm happiest when it's dark and cold. I know, I'm weird.


  1. What about New York, JoJo? What is our man experiencing?

  2. I cannot believe I forgot NY, NY!! I just added it now. Duh!

  3. As long as the nights are cool, I can deal with the heat. The tilt of the earth makes the sunrise/set times seem skewed. A friend of mine sent me a beautiful slide show of earth from a satellite that shows this really well. I'll forward it to you if you'd like.

  4. Anonymous3:59 PM

    You may require a canoe to get to Stonehenge at the moment - most of the UK is under water! Locally some places have had a month's rain in a day recently....hey, it IS summer, and I do live on an island ;0)

  5. happy summer!!!! i'd planned on taking pix of the sunset, but, of course, being in michigan, it's cloudy and rainy. i'll have to celebrate another way

  6. It's most certainly summer where I'm at. 99 degrees and climbing...I'm ready for Fall.

  7. Anonymous7:08 PM

    Claire: please do.

  8. Yes, Claire, I would love to see that slide show! Thanks!

  9. Anonymous9:56 PM


    hot summer, yuck. going into shorter days, yuck. quit my bitchin'. at least i am alive. Happy Solstice!!

  10. Man, it's beautiful here.

    PERFECT weather!

  11. Lizzzzard10:36 AM

    I cannot believe I did not spend the entire day outdoors as I always do. How could I have missed the longest day of summer? I know today is but a moment shorter but.....

    I hate summer solistics for the opposite reason that Jo does. It means the 8 months of cold, grey weather and high fuel bills are approaching...sigh.....

  12. I miss the dark, rainy days of Tacoma.