Astronomy Fun Facts and Science: Summer Starts Today in Oregon, on Coast
(Oregon Coast) – If you're looking for the longest day of the year and the first day of summer, you've stumbled upon it. (Above: last year's first full day of summer at Warrenton, just north of Seaside and Cannon Beach).
OMSI planetarium manager said today – or rather later tonight – is when summer officially starts. On the Oregon coast, which is in the Pacific Time Zone, the summer solstice happens at 10:04 p.m. This is when the Earth is tilted at an angle where the north pole is closest to the sun, bringing more minutes of sunlight to the northern hemisphere than any other time of year.
“The summer solstice is the time of the year when the sun stops its northern climb and stands briefly before turning back toward the equator,” Todd said. “As seen from Portland, the sun will reach its highest northern point in the sky at 67.54 degrees from the horizon on June 20 and 21 at approximately 1:12 p.m.”
The days start to get shorter from here on out, until December 21 when the winter solstice happens. But Todd said from March 21 through September 24 there are still more hours of daylight than dark.
Todd said the word “solstice” is derived from the Latin sol-stitium, for sun-standing.
More reasons to celebrate: the Oregon coast will soon start seeing some of the biggest minus tides of the year, between minus two and three feet in some spots. See the full article here. (Above: Manzanita at night at the end of last year's beginning of summer)
Not everyone in the world is in a party mood this time of year, however.
“Far to our south, across the equator, winter has arrived,” Todd said. “For people in the southern hemisphere, June 21st will be the shortest day of the year. It also means the beginning of their winter.”
Depoe Bay area.
Other interesting astronomical phenomenon on the horizon? Other than those stunning low tides on the Oregon coast, this region and the world will be able to view a Super Moon on June 23. Todd said it will be just 221, 824 miles away, making it the Moon's closest approach to Earth in 2013. Interestingly enough, the Moon will only appear slightly bigger than usual but fainter than normal. This is because of its angle so low in the sky on Sunday.
More on that phenomenon in an upcoming article at Oregon Coast Beach Connection. More about the Oregon coast below.
Above: Cannon Beach at last year's first full day of summer - at night.
Tide pools will be crazy available this weekend (above: Strawberry Hill, near Yachats)
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