Summer in the northern hemisphere officially began at 1:04 a.m. EDT Friday, June 21 (5:04 am UT).
National Geographic explains during this season, the Earth’s northern axis is slightly tilted toward the sun so that the northern hemisphere gets more direct sunlight and experiences warmer temperatures. Locations south of the equator are tilted away from the sun, so that the sunlight is dispersed, making for colder temperatures.
For skywatchers on the first day of the new season and a few days afterward the sun appears to rise at the same place on the horizon – hence the origin of the word solstice, meaning ‘sun stands still’ in Latin.
Supermoon this weekend
June Solstice also offers some amazing moon visuals. SPACE.com says in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 23, 2013, the moon will reach perigee — the closest point to Earth in the rocky satellite’s orbit around the planet. Although some people have suggested that the supermoon might drive people crazy, cause natural disasters and wreak havoc on the tides, there is scant evidence in support of those claims, NASA assures.
NASA planetary geologist Noah Petro said today on NASA TV that while the tides might be slightly higher because of the moon’s close approach, it won’t make a noticeable difference for the average observer. The only thing that humans might experience this weekend is a good lunar show. So… in anticipation of this weekend’s eye candy, we wanted to share some gorgeous supermoon shots from previous years in today’s Friday Fotos post.
Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion, SE of Athens, Greece 2012 (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis) via The Atlantic
Supermoon rises over Seattle 2012 (Photo ©Liem Bahneman via KOMO)
Lower Manhattan 2012 (Reuters/Gary Hershorn via The Atlantic)
Image: Ajorbahman’s Collection
Also check out our post of a gorgeous Tucson Moonrise … and remember to watch the supermoon this Sunday! Or catch a live webcast of the supermoon on SPACE.com on Sunday beginning at 9 pm EDT (0100 June 24 GMT), courtesy of the Slooh Space Camera.
Stay safe and have a great weekend everyone! 🙂 j & B