Time and again, mankind has been fascinated by the beauty and grandeur of the sun, while others are baffled by the sun’s endless rays that reach the Earth’s surface. The sun’s constant warmth has resulted in the abundance of life forms and mankind’s endless pursuit of advances in technology and innovation. The sun also causes changes in seasons – a very important aspect of life as we know it.
One phenomenon caused by the sun is the summer solstice, which is just around the corner for countries in the Northern Hemisphere such as the Philippines. A solstice is caused by the Earth’s tilt on its axis and its motion in orbit around the sun. This solstice marks the longest day of the year, with an early sunrise and a late sunset.
The summer solstice is also known as the June solstice, as this astronomical event will take place on the 21st of June, at precisely 15:54 UTC this year or 11:54 p.m. in Philippine Time. Meanwhile, it will be different in the Southern Hemisphere, where nights will be a bit colder as winter begins.
Does the solstice have an impact on the weather?
Meteorologically speaking, it does – since the sun draws in life-giving warmth and this drives climate and weather in our atmosphere. The sun’s cycle of movement affects the changes in seasons that we all are accustomed to.
Time and Date–said to be the world’s largest timezone-related website–says the Earth’s distance from the sun has very little effect over the seasons. Instead, it is the tilt of Earth’s rotational axis (which is angled at around 23.4 degrees) that creates seasons.
What happens this June?
According to astronomy website EarthSky.org, during the June solstice, the Earth is positioned in its orbit so that the North Pole leans most toward the sun. As seen from Earth, the sun is directly overhead at noon 23 ½ degrees North of the Equator, at an imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Cancer – named after the constellation Cancer the Crab. This is as far north as the sun ever gets.
The website also noted that during the June solstice, all locations North of the Equator have days longer than 12 hours. Meanwhile, all locations South of the Equator have days shorter than 12 hours.
In the Philippines, according to the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the longest day and shortest night of the year will be on Friday, June 21, during our very own “summer solstice.” PAGASA said daytime will last for 12 hours and 59 minutes on June 21. The sun will rise at 5:28 a.m. and will set at 6:27 p.m.
It is highly essential that we take note of these to make the most out of the longest day of the year. Got any plans? Make sure that you check the weather updates from WeatherPhilippines before heading out. Download the WeatherPH app from Play Store or App Store today, or head over to https://weatherph.org for the latest weather updates. Stay #WeatherWiser!
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–By Adonis S. Manzan
Typhoon Specialist, WeatherPhilippines Foundation, Inc.