Night Sky

By Collin O’Mara-Green

Summer Solstice 2022

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/CalTech

Happy summer solstice, everyone! We just had the longest day of sunlight on June 21st. Each day until the winter solstice will have less daylight hours by a few minutes. Solstice, or “sun”+”still”, is when the apparent movement higher or lower in the sky at local noon stops and reverses.

This happens due to the natural tilt of the Earth. Our rotational axis is inclined 23.5 degrees from the plane of our orbit around the Sun. Think of a spinning gyroscope that is tilted off-center. You can move the gyroscope around but the tilt direction remains the same. Same goes for Earth, but super sized.

Our tilt means part of the year, each hemisphere of the Earth gets more or less sunlight during daylight hours. Same for nighttime. Equal amounts of day and night occur twice in our orbit during equinoxes, or “equal”+”night”.

Enjoy the long days thru the summer months and hope for clear, cool skies!

Keep lookin’ up!

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