Summer Solstice in Oregon on Wednesday; Even More Sunlight on Beaches
(Oregon Coast) – The long day of the year. Summer Solstice. The official beginning of summer. (Above: Netarts)
Whatever you want to call it, it's happening Wednesday, June 20. Summer officially begins that day at 4:09 PDT – including here on the Oregon coast.
Jim Todd, planetarium manager at OMSI in Portland, said this is when the Earth is tilted so that the north pole is at its closest point with the sun.
“ As a result there will be more minutes of sunlight in the northern hemisphere than there are at any other time of the year,” Todd said. “ 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. As seen from Portland, the sun will reach its highest northern point in the sky at 67.54 degrees from the horizon on June 21 at approximately 1:12 p.m.”
Todd said that from March 21 until September 24, there are more hours of daylight than darkness. After June 21, the days will gradually grow shorter until December 21, the winter solstice.
Sunset for the Portland area is officially logged in at 9:03 p.m. that day. But a funky fact about the Oregon coast is that sunset happens as much as ten minutes later on the beaches than inland around Portland.
Some meteorologists say it may be around ten minutes later, but that depends on who you talk to. National Weather Service meteorologist Colby Neuman, with the Portland office, said sunset on the beach is probably more like two or three minutes later than inland. Because they are farther west, towns like Cannon Beach, Seaside or Yachats will get a slightly later sundown.
However, another big factor comes into play if you really want to maximize your sunlight hours: the mountains of the coast range.
Neuman said sunrise and sunset times given by scientists are based on when the sun would appear if it was a flat horizon. But taking into account the coast range mountains, this would make Portland sunsets even earlier, depending on where you are. Close to downtown, you have the West Hills blocking the sun much sooner than farther east around, say, 82nd Avenue. But those in Beaverton probably see a little more sun late in the day than those closer to the coast range in western Washington County where those mountains are taller.
Of course the flipside to this is those in Cannon Beach or Newport will see a much later dawn because of the looming hills to the east.
Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City
Todd said the word “solstice” is derived from the Latin sol-stitium, for sun-standing. He added the flipside to this is being felt in the southern hemisphere, where June 21 will be the shortest day of the year. It also means the beginning of their winter.
Weather will quite possibly cooperate with the summer solstice as well. Predictions for the coast on Wednesday are for partly sunny, which often means intermittent sun or some breaks between the clouds.
Keywords: astronomy, cape kiwanda, topography, geography, Pacific City, Cannon Beach, Yachats, Depoe Bay, Newport, Lincoln City, Oceanside, Astoria, Oregon coast, science.
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