Thursday marks the earliest summer solstice in 228 years

The astronomical summer officially began Thursday at 4:51 p.m. ET in the U.S.
Posted at 12:27 PM, Jun 20, 2024

The astronomical summer officially began Thursday afternoon, marking the earliest solstice since 1796, the National Weather Service said.

The summer solstice occurred at 4:51 p.m. ET.

What is the summer solstice?

June's summer solstice marks the moment when the sun is at the highest point in the Northern Hemisphere.

At the same time, those in the Southern Hemisphere are experiencing the winter solstice, the moment when the sun is at its lowest point.

Because the sun is shining more directly on the Northern Hemisphere, days are longer and hotter.

The exact date of the Northern Hemisphere's summer solstice might fluctuate year to year, but only by a day or two. The 2025 summer solstice also occurs on June 20 but will take place at 10:42 p.m. ET.

Amount of daylight

The summer solstice generally brings the most daylight of the year to the Northern Hemisphere. The further north you go, the longer the days.

For instance, sunrise on Thursday in Miami is at 6:30 a.m. and sunset is at 8:15 p.m. In New York, the sun rises at 5:25 a.m. and sets at 8:30 p.m.

In Juneau, Alaska, the sun rises at 3:51 a.m. and sets at 10:08 p.m. And in Fairbanks, Alaska, the sun rises at 2:59 a.m. and doesn't set until 12:47 a.m.

Meanwhile, the sunrise in Sydney Australia is 7 a.m. and the sunset is 4:54 p.m.

Those at the North Pole are in the middle of six consecutive months of daylight. Those north of the Arctic Circle will have the sun up the entire day.

In the coming weeks, sunrises will begin to get later, and sunsets will get earlier. Soak up the sun while it lasts.