Today we once again celebrate our free annual trip around the sun. I arbitrarily recognize this point in the year as a good start/end point due to the astronomically interesting nature of the day.
At 1:16 EDT the sun will be at its most northern point in the arc it describes across the sky. This point is the solstice, the farthest north from the celestial equator. Yay for the solstice!
One of the vagaries of moving about the country as I have throughout my life is the differing times of sunrise and sunset. Right now, of course, the sun is rising earliest and setting latest compared to the rest of the year1. However, the precise times of that can be a bit wonky, depending on your location both longitudinally and latitudinally. For example, I’m in Atlanta, GA, in the Eastern time zone and I’m located about an hour’s drive from the Central time zone. So, without too much change in location, I get 54 minute’s difference in sunrise time (compare Atlanta, GA to Anniston, AL).
If we throw some north/south motion into the mix, things get really fun. I spent my formative years in Manchester, NH, which is having a sunrise/sunset of 5:06 AM / 8:28 PM as opposed to my own of 6:27 AM / 8:51 PM. Over a full hour of additional sunlight! Aren’t you guys happy you live in a more northern latitude?2. About even with me in a longitudinal sense, and with Manchester in a latitudinal direction is Ovid, Michigan, which will be having a 5:58 AM / 9:20 PM spread. Hell, I’m going to bed right now around 10:00. It wouldn’t be even close to dark by that time if I lived in Ovid. I don’t know how the people in Alaska can stand it.
Anyway. Happy Solstice! Go out and do that thing you do.