The 2024 summer solstice is fast approaching, and it will be the earliest one in over 200 years. What does this mean, and why is it happening so early this year? Following this historic moment, there will be another spectacular sight in the sky.

Happy Summer Solstice

The summer solstice happens when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, marking the start of summer. This day also has the longest daylight hours of the year for people in the Northern Hemisphere. The solstice date varies each year but usually occurs between June 20 and June 22.

What is the Summer Solstice and Is It the First Day of Summer?

This year's summer solstice is the earliest in 228 years, with the last one occurring this early on June 20, 1796, according to AccuWeather. "The exact date and time of the solstice vary slightly each year," they explained. The Weather Network called the early solstice in 2024 "something exceptional" and suggested that it could be due to it being a leap year.

Why is This Year's Solstice So Early?

The Adler Planetarium explains that the word "solstice" refers to the Sun's path appearing to pause in the sky. The term originates from Latin, where "sol" means sun and "stitium" means to stand still or stop, as noted by the Almanac.

Why is it Called a Solstice?

While the summer solstice marks the day with the most sunlight, it does not coincide with the dates of the earliest sunrise or latest sunset. According to timeanddate.com, the latest sunsets of the year will occur in mid-to-late June, with the sun setting around 8:30 p.m. Throughout most of the month, the city will enjoy over 15 hours of daylight, although this duration will begin to shorten after the summer solstice on June 20.

Sunrise and Sunsets During the Summer Solstice

1. Lake Tahoe, Nevada 2. Arches National Park, Utah 3. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 4. Stone Mountain Park, Georgia 5. Key West, Florida 6. Everglades National Park, Florida 7. Adirondack Mountains, New York 8. Sedona, Arizona 9. Maroon Bells, Colorado 10. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Top 10 Places to Watch the Happy Summer Solstice Sunrise Across the Country