Today at 09:13 UTC (5:13 a.m. EDT) the sun was directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere.
This imaginary circle of latitude at 23.5°N that runs through Mexico, North Africa, and India is as far north as the sun appears to shine in the northern hemisphere – the summer solstice!
The longest day of the year and first day of meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere, an occasion made famous by the early risers of Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, UK, where the event is known as Midsummer Eve.
The 5,000-year-old Neolithic monument is famous for its midsummer sunrise. About 6,000 people celebrated at the famous memorial to witness the sunrise for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.
They also received a reward in the form of a rare planetary alignment. In the east before sunrise, a first-quarter moon brightened near Jupiter while all five planets in the solar system were visible to the naked eye.
From east to south, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn could be seen lined up according to their distance from the sun. The moon was between Jupiter and Saturn.
Before sunrise on Friday, June 24, 2022 is the last chance to see the five planets with the naked eye shining together until the year 2041. Mercury will again be lowest and closest to the eastern horizon, followed by Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn across 107º from the sky. There will also be a 19% waning crescent moon between Venus and Mars.
The longest day and shortest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice is when the Earth’s northern axis tilts toward the Sun, which lies directly above the Tropic of Cancer. It’s the northernmost point where the sun reaches in any given year, so there is the most sunlight — and therefore the longest day — in the northern hemisphere.
The exact opposite happens in the Southern Hemisphere, where the June solstice sees the sun at its lowest point in the sky. So below the equator is the beginning of winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, the days will now get shorter and the nights longer, while in the Southern Hemisphere the days will get longer and the nights shorter.