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Weather Watchers

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Thu Jun 20, 2024, 04:39 AM Jun 20

Summer solstice 2024: Season to have its earliest start since 1796 [View all]

Summer solstice 2024: Season to have its earliest start since 1796

The summer solstice, marking the year’s longest daylight period, officially occurs Thursday at 4:51 p.m. Eastern time. Here’s why it’s a day early.

By Justin Grieser
June 19, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Revelers gather at the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice near Salisbury, England, on June 21, 2023. (Kin Cheung/AP)

Summer is arriving a bit earlier than usual this year, and not just because a major heat wave is baking the eastern United States and Canada this week. Thursday’s summer solstice — the longest day and shortest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere — is the earliest in 228 years, since 1796, when George Washington was president.

The 2024 summer solstice arrives June 20 at 4:51 p.m. Eastern time, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory. A day later, on June 21, the full moon will rise at 9:08 p.m. Eastern. The “strawberry moon” is the lowest full moon of the year, staying close to the horizon as the sun soars to its highest point in the sky.


(Justin Grieser)


The reason for the seasons

On the June solstice, Earth's Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun. (NASA)



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