Tag: summer solstice

Shall I compare thee to a summer's solstice?

By Phil Plait | June 20, 2012 6:01 am

Today, June 20, at 23:09 UTC (7:09 p.m. Eastern US time), the Earth’s north pole will be tipped over toward the Sun as far as it can for the year. There are other ways to describe it — the Sun reaches its maximum declination, its annual northern movement in the sky peaks, it’s the longest day of the year — but most folks just call it the summer solstice.

You can use this event to measure your latitude the Earth’s tilt, if you have a stick and a protractor and clear skies and the ability to take an inverse tangent. Or you can read about past summer solstices here, here, here, and here (or the winter solstice here, here, here, here, here, here and here).

Or you can celebrate by checking out the gallery below of some of my favorite pictures of the Sun. If it’s cloudy where you are, or you’re in the southern hemisphere where it’s the winter solstice today, then maybe that’ll help spill a little golden glow into your day.

And finally, think on this: the Earth has had well over 4.5 billion summer solstices since it formed. And it’ll have billions more! Just a little perspective to your day, care of the Universe.


Use the thumbnails and arrows to browse, and click on the images to go through to blog posts with more details and descriptions.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

Summer solstice 2011

By Phil Plait | June 21, 2011 6:30 am

Today, June 21, 2001, at 17:16 UTC (1:16 p.m. Eastern US time), the Sun will reach its peak in its northward travels this year. This moment is the summer solstice — I describe this in detail in an earlier post. Technically, that article is for the winter solstice, but the idea’s the same. Just replace "winter" with "summer" and "December" with "June" and "south" with "north". That should be clear enough. It might be easier just to multiply the entire article by -1. Or stand on your head.

Since for the majority of people on the planet this day marks the start (or more commonly the midpoint) of summer, enjoy the gallery below that shows our nearest star doing what it does best: giving us light, giving us beauty, and sometimes, blowing its top.


Use the thumbnails and arrows to browse, and click on the images to go through to blog posts with more details and descriptions.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures
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