Brain Post: 8 Facts About Summer Solstice

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Stonhenge and a summer solstice celebration
Stonehenge and a summer solstice celebration with paragliders and 30,000 people

June 21st, 2023, is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and the official start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This means that the start of winter is only six months away, December 21st, 2023, and daylight today is 5h28m longer than then. Ski season is even closer, as it usually starts in November.

Of course, in the Southern Hemisphere, the day is the shortest day of the year and the beginning of winter. Southern Hemisphere skiing and riding have already begun.

Summer Solstice
Summer Solstice in Northern Hemisphere, Winter Solstice in Southern Hemisphere


1. The June solstice (summer solstice) in South Lake Tahoe is at 07:57 on Wednesday, June 21st 2023. In terms of daylight, this day is 5 hours and 28 minutes longer than the December solstice. In most locations north of the equator, the year’s longest day is around this date. It marks when the sun’s rays are at zenith (directly overhead) at 23.5 degrees north latitude, better known as the Tropic of Cancer.

Sunrise and sunset times for the longest day of the year in South Lake Tahoe, CA. Credit:

2. The sun is above the horizon for 14 hours, 54 minutes, and 7 seconds.

3. Sunrise occurs at 5:34 am and sunset at 8:28 pm.

Mad Al hangs with the Druids at Stonehenge during summer solstice today. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Mad Al hangs with the Druids at Stonehenge during the summer solstice today. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

4. The noontime (1:01 pm) sun angle reaches its maximum height at 74.5º above the horizon (compared to only 27.7º above the horizon on December 21st).

5. The sun rises at its northeasternmost point and sets at its northwesternmost point all year (58º and 302º from due north, respectively).

6. Twilight lasts longer than at any other time of year.

Stonehendge on the Summer Solstice
Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice

7. Due to seasonal lag, average temperatures in Lake Tahoe will continue to increase until late July – even as the daylight period gradually diminishes. Lake Tahoe’s earliest sunrise already occurred on June 13th. But for those of you wishing to enjoy dusk extending past 9 pm, rest assured: we still have another week before the sun starts disappearing earlier from the sky.

8. Stonehenge:  

– Thousands of people annually celebrate the summer solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

– At sunrise at Stonehenge on the longest day of the year, the rising sun appears behind one of the main stones, creating the illusion that the sun is balancing on the stone.

– The site was closed for 16 years after rioting broke out between police and revelers for several years at solstice gatherings. Stonehenge was re-opened to the public on Solstice in 2000.

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