Summer has arrived
This station is full of astronomical peculiarities.
Here we leave 5 things you might not know about the solstice that began at 0:34 this Tuesday 21st.
When we are furthest from the Sun
Although we might think the opposite, the Earth reaches its furthest point from the Sun on July 4th. It is called aphelion.
The longest season
The summer lasts 93 days and 15 hours. Due to the Earth being so far from the Sun, due to what we term the second law of Kepler, its orbital motion is slower. And that makes our planet take longer to complete the fourth orbit, which corresponds to our summer, which is to say that summer is a particularly long season.
The hour without shade
In summer, the sun’s rays strike directly on the Tropic of Cancer. That means that on the 21st, at the astronomical noon, in tropical countries the sun is at its zenith, the highest point in the sky. It will be difficult to cast shadows. The further north or south, the longer the shade time.
On the 21st the sun does not set later.
Oddly enough, the longest day of the year (15h and 3 minutes in Madrid) is not the day when the sun rises earlier and sets later. This is because the Earth’s orbit is elliptical. Dawn came early on June 14th, while the later evening will take place on 27th .
The Sun is ‘still’
We propose an experiment that will take a year: to build an analemma. Take a daily photo pointing to the same place, where the sun is. By superimposing them, we will see a figure called analemma. The suns corresponding to the summer solstice and winter tend to show very close together: their positions barely move from one day to another in the sky. They are ‘still suns’, which is what ‘solstice’ means.
Astronomical curiosities for this summer:
On 27th June at 03h UTC, the maximum of the Bootidas, a meteors shower from comet 7P / Pons-Winnecke will occur.
July, Delta Aquarids
As we said, on July 4th, the Earth will pass through the aphelion, the furthest point from the Sun, to 152,103,771 km away, almost nothing!
On July 30th, the main activity of the Delta Aquarids will be recorded. The best viewing will be at midnight, facing south-southeast, when the moon is not yet present.
The night of 12th to 13th of August the most famous meteors shower The Perseids will take place. It will have its maximum from 1pm until 3.30pm UTC on the 12th. This day, the moon illuminated at 62%, will be hidden from 02h UTC.
Take advantage of summer evenings to enjoy more astronomical phenomena. From 26th to 29th we can see Venus and Jupiter approaching in the sky to the west after sunset. Try your luck to see Aurigids Alfa on the night of August 31st to September 1st, because although it has a slightly lower zenithal hourly rate, this year we will have a new moon and it will not hinder vision.
September, penumbral lunar eclipse
The first day of September there will be an annular solar eclipse. It will be visible as a ring in the Atlantic, Central Africa, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean. It will be seen as partial in the Atlantic Ocean, Africa and the Indian Ocean.
On September 16th there will be a penumbral eclipse of the moon visible in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and western Pacific Ocean. The downside is that the Moon will be low over the east horizon even in daylight, making it difficult to appreciate the phenomenon.