A diagram showing how the Sun moves through the sky on the Summer solstice.
Click on image for full size
The Summer Solstice
The summer solstice, which occurs around June 21, is the longest day
of the year! This is because the Sun gets very high in the sky for
people living in places north of the equator like the United States,
Europe, and China. The Sun stays above the horizon
for more than 12 hours on that day.
The diagram to the left shows how the Sun may appear to move through
your sky on the summer solstice, if you live at a latitude of 40° N, around Topeka, Kansas for instance.
The Sun has been climbing higher and higher in the sky since the vernal equinox around March 21. As the Sun
gets higher, and as the days get longer, the northern part of the
Earth warms up - it's summer!
Did you notice that the Sun doesn't go directly over the
person's head?? The Sun only passes directly overhead for people living
very near the equator. Compare this picture to what you would see in
the winter or on an equinox.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
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, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.
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