And so, a new season begins! While meteorological summer started on June 1st, the astronomical event known as the Summer Solstice occurs tomorrow (June 20th) marking the first day of astronomical Summer. For many of us in the Northern Hemisphere this day marks the changing of seasons here on Earth and the transition between Spring and Summer. For others it marks the midway point of Summer. It also marks midway through the year, midway between the two equinoxes and for many cultures around the world this is a time of celebration.

On this day we will experience the longest day and shortest night of the calendar year. The sun will rise roughly at 4.27am and will set at around 21.40pm, meaning we'll enjoy approximately 17 hours and 13 minutes of daylight. Happy Summer Solstice for tomorrow everyone!         


The Summer solstice marks the first day of the astronomical season of Summer. Astronomical seasons are based on the position of Earth in relation to the Sun, whereas meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle and climatological patterns observed on Earth.

This is also the day where we, in the Northern hemisphere, experience the most hours of daylight and the fewest hours of night-time. After today the amount of daylight we experience will gradually decrease until the Winter solstice on December 21st.

All that extra Sunlight means we are more likely to experience warmer temperatures for a period of time following the Summer Solstice too!


The Summer solstice occurs when one of Earth's poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. This happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern).

One important thing to consider when hoping to understand solstices better is that whilst those of us in the Northern hemisphere experience Summer solstice, those in the Southern hemisphere are experiencing the Winter solstice.

The reason for this is that due to the Earths tilt (of 23.5 degrees) the Northern and Southern hemispheres experience different amounts of sunlight, with one hemisphere experiencing more sunlight than the other due to it tilting towards the sun. Whilst the other hemisphere experiences less day light due to it tilting away from the sun.

Whilst one half of Earth is tilted as far away from the Sun as possible, the other half is pointed as close to it as possible.

Another way to describe the Summer and Winter solstices is when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point relative to the celestial equator. During the days around the Summer solstice the sun’s arc or path will appear higher in the sky than any other time of year.

The length of daylight in each hemisphere is not as cut and dry as a North/South hemisphere suggests either. The length of day increases as we move from the equator towards the North Pole in the Northern Hemisphere. Whereas the length of day decreases from the equator towards the South Pole in the Southern Hemisphere. For those at the extreme North or South poles (Arctic and Antarctic), during winter solstice they experience complete darkness around the clock. In the Arctic Circle there is no sunlight or even twilight from early October until the beginning of dawn in early March. Where as in the height of Summer, they experience something called ‘Midnight Sun’, where the sun never truly sets. Therefore remaining in full sunlight all day long throughout the entire summer (unless there are clouds), all the way to the Autumn Equinox.

We often think of the Summer solstice as an event that spans an entire calendar day, but the solstice actually lasts only a moment. Specifically, it’s the exact moment when a hemisphere is tilted as close to the Sun as it can be. For us, this occurs on June 20th at 21:51pm BST this year.


The 2024 Summer Solstice occurs on the 20th of June. This year, the precise time of the solstice (when the North Pole is closest to the sun) will be at 21:51pm BST.


Earth is not the only planet to experience solstices. Any planet that has an axial tilt experiences solstices as well as Earth. Scientists use these solstices to mark the seasons on other planets.


Many religions and cultures have given special reverence to the solstices both in the ancient past and in modern history.

For example, the Pyramids and Sphinx in Giza, Egypt, were built to align with the setting Summer Solstice sun.

We in the UK also have an ancient monument that is thought to be constructed with the significance of the solstices in mind; The circle and surrounding stones of Stone Henge. Every year thousands of people flock to Stone Henge to celebrate the Summer Solstice. During the sunrise of the Summer solstice, if you were to stand in the centre of the circle and look at the outlying stone known as the “Heel stone”, you would be looking at the rising sun.

This year the Summer Solstice celebrations at Stone Henge will be taking place over the evening of the 20th into the morning of the 21st of June. This is because the exact moment of the Summer Solstice is in the evening (21:51 BST) and will be closer to the morning of the 21st.

The solstices are a time for celebration, rituals and festivities for lots of people around the world. Throughout history, cultures have celebrated the solstice in different ways such as through the lighting of fires in an effort to recharge the sun. From the Scots, to the Nords, this is a long-standing tradition. Many cultural and religious celebrations can be linked to the solstice’s astrological significance.

The Summer Solstice coincides with the start of the Cardinal zodiac sign Cancer. For many people, the solstices and equinoxes hold great astrological significance, marking the beginning of a new season and each corresponding to one of the four cardinal signs of the zodiac, also known as the cardinal axis. This axis is extremely important in astrology because it is where we find the powerful angles in something called a birth chart. These angles are points of energy manifestation that are thought to effect or even trigger major life events and are associated with qualities of initiative.

Often, from a soul perspective, the Summer Solstice is about celebrating the light, purification, and self-healing. As well as a time of transformation, inspiration, and growth. It’s a time to reflect on the light and dark that are both within each of us and the world around us. A time to appreciate and nurture everything positive around us, from nature, to family, to friends and importantly at this time of year, the impending harvests that will see us throughout the year.

Whether it’s an equinox or solstice, it’s about celebrating the start of something new. Each season having its own specific and unique job that we rely on. The equinox and solstice points are seen as sacred markers in time that help us connect the dots to the mystery behind the Earth’s never ending circle of life.

Whatever way you view or choose to celebrate the Summer solstice, we wish you a beautiful, happy, summer season!


How can we observe the effects of solstice ourselves? On the day of the solstice, if you were to stand outside at noon and look at your shadow. It’s the shortest shadow that you’ll cast all year! In fact, you will see almost no shadow! If you were to do this again on the day of the winter solstice you would see that you cast the longest shadow that you’ll cast all year!


For many people, Summer often inspires much joy and happiness. Many rejoice that we experience more hours of daylight, warmer weather and all the growth, new life and abundance that the Summer Season brings.

However, for some people, particularly those for whom the long, dark nights are important (for example the astronomers and night lovers out there), they miss the truly dark skies of which we have not experienced for some time. For those people, they may rejoice in the knowledge that from here on in we will experience more and more night-time as each day passes. Soon we will experience truly dark skies again, something we know as astronomical darkness. 

We here at Astro Dog can’t wait for the lengthening nights and true astronomical darkness but are still enjoying the long and warm days of Summertime. There have also been a couple of great Noctilucent Cloud shows so far this year and we hope we all get to see some more before the season ends. Perhaps along with some summer storms.

We wish you all a lovely day and clear skies!

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