The summer solstice, which marks the official beginning of summer and the longest day of the year, will occur on Wednesday, June 21. On this day, the city of Chicago will experience 15 hours, 13 minutes, and 41 seconds of daylight, with sunset just before 8:30 p.m.
The summer solstice is when the sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky, resulting in the longest period of sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the exact date of the solstice varies, it generally falls between June 20-22.
The winter solstice, on the other hand, marks the start of winter and will take place on December 21 this year. The term “solstice” refers to the moment when the sun’s arc stops in the sky. During the summer solstice, the sun’s arc stops getting higher, and daylight hours gradually become shorter until the winter solstice.
It is important to note that the solstice does not determine the earliest sunrise or latest sunset dates. With the arrival of the summer solstice, NASA scientists predict a busy period of solar events, including eclipses and other phenomena. In the next 12 months, there will be two solar eclipses, with both at least partially visible from the Midwest.
The first eclipse will occur on October 14, 2023, and the second, on April 8 of the following year, will be a total solar eclipse visible across a wide area of the Midwest. Additionally, the sun is reaching the peak of an 11-year solar cycle, which can lead to significant changes in solar activity, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, potentially affecting Earth in various ways, including the visibility of the Northern Lights and impacts on radio communications and electricity grids.