Happy Summer Solstice 2013!

The entire universe in blog form
June 20 2013 2:02 PM

Happy Summer Solstice 2013!

Sun in the ultraviolet
The Sun today, June 20, 2013, at 17:25:30 UTC, as seen in the extreme ultraviolet by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Click to ensolarnate.

Photo by NASA/SDO/AIA

Happy summer!*

At 05:04 UTC (01:04 a.m. EDT) on June 21, the Sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky, which we call the summer solstice. It also means in general it’s the longest day of the year. Since this happens in the middle of the night for us in the United States, it means Thursday and Friday are about the same length; in fact the difference is too small to worry about. For me, in Boulder, Colo., the day is 15 hours and one minute long; compare that to the dead of winter when it’s only about 9.3 hours long!

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I’ve written about this about a bazillion times, so check Related Posts below for more info on how this all works. I’ll note that the length of the day depends on your latitude; if you live in Alaska, your days are longer than mine, and if you’re at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, it’s been nighttime for a few weeks now. Living on a great spinning tilted ball is weird, but that’s the hand we’re dealt.

*Well, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, that is. For the 10 or so percent of you below the equator, happy winter!

Related Posts:

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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