Astronomical summer has begun, as of 6:07am EDT this morning, in the Northern Hemisphere. This comes as the direct rays from the sun shine over the Tropical of Cancer, which is located at a latitude of 23.5 degrees north of the equator.
23.5 degrees is an important angle because not only is that where the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are in terms of latitude, but it’s also the angle at which Earth is tilted. This tilt is what brings seasons, which are most felt in the mid to upper latitudes on the planet. In the summertime, since the Northern Hemisphere receives direct sunlight, that allows for the warmer conditions and longer days.
Based on latitude, that will determine how long the amount of daylight is on the summer solstice. The farther north in latitude in the Norther Hemisphere, the longer the day will be. Once you get within the Arctic Circle, the sun will be up for an entire 24 hours. This is the complete opposite during the wintertime, when it’s complete darkness.
At 1pm EDT, that marks solar noon, the time at which the sun will be the highest in the sky for areas north of the Tropic of Cancer. Because the sun will be directly overhead, many objects won’t produce a shadow.
Now while it’s officially the first day of summer, Mother Nature doesn’t typically like to follow a schedule. The summer heat has already affected every town in the US at least once so far this year, and more hot days are definitely ahead.