From kayaking down the river to endless free things to do, and a whole host of festivals taking over Grant Park (like Lollapalooza and the free Classic Chicago music series) Summertime Chi is the place to be during the course of June, July, and August!
With the first official day of summer arriving this Wednesday, the Summer Solstice (much like Chicagohenge’s Spring Equinox) celebrates the return of the warm weather season with a long, sunny day head. Did you know that the Summer Solstice is also the longest day of the year?
Keep reading for everything we know about the official start of the 2023 Summer Solstice.
What is a solstice?
The summer solstice is when the sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky, making it the longest day of the year.
This means that Chicago will see 15 or 16 hours, 13 minutes, and 41 seconds of daylight with the sunset taking place at 8:30 at night.
Marking the day with the most sunlight, the Summer Solstice does not mark the date of the earliest sunrise or latest sunset. The earliest Chicago sunrise usually takes place before the solstice, occurring in early June. We’re still waiting for the latest sunset of the season.
- The first full moon, which rose earlier this month, is nicknamed the Horse Moon in Celtic folklore!
- Planets start moon bathing in the summer, which means you’ll have a chance to spot Venus and Mars in the evening, Look for Saturn after midnight, and Jupiter in the predawn sky.
When is the Summer Solstice taking place?
This year’s official summer solstice will take place on June 21st, starting at 9:58 am central time. With that being said, the annual summer solstice does not take place on the same day or time each year, usually falling between June 20-22nd.
In astronomical terms, the summer solstice is considered the first official day of summer, while others (like meteorologists) consider the start date the beginning of June.
According to Adler Planetarium, the sun’s arc has been moving higher in the sky since December’s winter solstice. The Summer Solstice signifies the arc’s pause, after which the sun’s arc will seem lower every day after.
As daylight hours continue to get shorter from here on out, the sun’s arc will lower until the 2023 winter solstice.
So that means: make the most of the sunny days ahead! There’s so much to do in Chicago, fromtouring public art exhibits to wandering around State Street’s iconic Summer on State or enjoying live music at the MCA’s Tuesdays on the Terrace.
Upcoming solar phenomenons
This year will also mark a busy period of solar events with two solar eclipses occurring in the next 12 months. The first partial eclipse, showing up on October 14, 2023, will be visible from Chicago.
Then on April 8th, we’ll see a total solar eclipse visible across the Midwest. It will not be visible from Chicago but can be seen from Indiana.
According to NASA, the sun is reaching its peak of an 11-year solar cycle, which means that the sun’s magnetic field flips. This can cause changes in activity on the sun’s surface. Occurrences like solar flares, and coronal mass ejections could impact us here on Earth.
For example, the Northern Lights might become more pronounced and/or visible in new locations while things like radio communication and electricity grids can also be impacted by this flip.