Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Sunlight, sunlight in my soul today

Today, as most of you know, is what is called the "summer solstice" in the northern hemisphere (Nota bene. it is not called that in the southern hemisphere), popularly known as the longest day of the year (shortest day in the aforementioned southern hemisphere).

Just how many hours of daylight one experiences depends on one's latitude. The equator is at 0° and the North Pole (the geographic one, not the magnetic one) is at 90°N latitude. Today in Canton, Georgia (34.2368°N), where I live, the sun rose at 6:26 a.m. and set at 8:52 p.m., a period of 14 hours, 26 minutes. Allowing for some pre-sunrise "dawn's early light" and some post-sunset twilight at dusk, we had about 15 hours of daylght on the longest day of the year. This is three hours more (12+3=15) than on the equinoxes in March and September when everyone in the world gets 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness, so it follows as the night the day (see what I did there?) that on the winter solstice at my latitude there will be about nine hours of daylight (12-3=9).

Yorkshire Pudding reported on his blog that Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom (53.3811°N) where he lives had only about three hours of complete darkness and that he loves this time of year (24-3=21 hours of daylight). North of the Arctic Circle (66.30°N) the sun did not set at all today. Conversely, six months from now, at the winter solstice, the sun will not rise anywhere above the Arctic Circle.

The difference between the geographic North Pole's latitude (90°N) and the Arctic Circle's latitude (66.30°:N) is the number of degrees that the earth is tilted from vertical, or as we all surely learned back in our school days, "approximately 23-and-a-half degrees".

NEWS FLASH FOR SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE READERS! If you change Arctic to Antarctic and all the norths and degrees N to souths and degrees S, this post will work pretty well for you (with only a couple of minor inaccuracies) on the orher solstice in December, provided that you also change Canton to Sydney or Cape Town, and Sheffield to Tierra del Fuego.

I love it when a post can have an extended life!


  1. I enjoyed my time above the arctic circle.

    1. Red, you are the only person I know who has actually been to the Arctic. The nearest I ever came was spending the entire month of February 1969 in Stockholm, Sweden, 500 miles below the Arctic Circle.

  2. Your title reminded me of a song: There's a song that's ringing in my heart today.
    We have just passed the shortest day. It seems extra grim this year

    1. kylie, my title is also a song, from my days in Sunday School: "Sunlight, sunlight in my soul today / Sunlight, sunlight all along the way / Since the Savior found me, took away my sin / I have had the sunlight of His love within." Singing that song over and over in your mind will help lighten your day and dispel the grimness.


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