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Long day ahead; summer officially begins

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The Daily Reflector

Thursday, June 21, 2018

It’s going to be a long day.

The summer solstice — the annual moment when the sun is at its highest point in the sky — occurs today at 6:07 a.m. This astrological event marks the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and results in the longest day of the year. 

In temperate regions, the sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle. Because the sun is highest in the sky on this day, you may notice that your shadow at noon is the shortest it will be all year.

Specifically, the summer solstice is the moment when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer. This is the farthest north the sun moves in the sky, which is why the days close to the solstice have the most daylight of the year.

This will not be the hottest day of the year, however. The National Weather Service forecasts a chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 8 a.m. Expect mostly cloudy skies, with a high near 92 and heat index values as high as 102. 

Although the Northern Hemisphere gets its most direct sunlight on the June solstice, the hottest day of summer does not usually arrive until July or August. That is because for several more weeks the amount of solar energy arriving at the ground is greater than the amount leaving the earth. This seasonal lag is largely driven by the oceans, which take a lot longer than land to warm up and cool down and release heat slowly over time.

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