The Summer Solstice occurs at 5:14 am today (Tuesday June 21, 2022). At that minute, the sun is as far north as it gets in it’s yearly journey. It’s the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere with 15 hours and 21 minutes of daylight in Grand Rapids. That’s 6 hours and 21 minutes more daylight than we see at the Winter Solstice just a few days before Christmas.

Position of the Earth at the Solstices and Equinoxes
Sun at Midnight at Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska – from Andrei Taranchenko

This picture shows the sun at midnight local time in Utqiaqvik Alaska .  North of the Arctic Circle (66.56° north latitude) the sun is above the horizon 24 hours a day. At Utqiaqvik, Alaska the next sunset will be August 2. Check out the webcam and cool daily image movies from Barrow. The sun now rises well north of due east and sets well north of due west. You can see twilight to the northwest at 11 PM if you’re in a dark spot and the twilight at 11 PM is centered a little more to the north than to the west. 

Despite the extra sun, Barrow is still a cold place, with Arctic ice on three side of them in late spring. However, yesterday (6/20), the temperature at Utqiagvik reached a balmy 68 degrees. That was 23 degrees warmer than the average high of 45 for June 20. Last year they had a high temp. of 36 on June 20th. Monday the wind was SSE blowing off the warmer land. The high of 68 occurred at 2:24 pm. By 3:53 pm, the temperature had fallen to 56 as the wind shifted to the west off the Arctic Ocean, which still has a fair amount of ice. It’s been a dry year in Utqiagvik. They’ve had only 0.46″ of precipitation since Jan. 1. It’s a cold desert.

Today (Tue.), the sun is directly overhead at solar noon over a line we call the Tropic of Cancer, which is about 72 miles south of Key West, Florida, but north of the main Hawaiian Islands. In Grand Rapids the sun rises to an angle of 70.5 degrees above the southern horizon, with the highest sun at 1:44 PM.

Summer Solstice Average Temps_1529601029475.png.jpg
Average High and Low Temperatures for Grand Rapids on 6/21, 7/21, 8/21 and 9/21

Temperature lags the position of the sun by about four weeks…so the highest average temperatures in Michigan occur around July 20. We’ve already had 2 days of 90-degree heat in G.R. in late spring and today we’ll reach 90 degrees for the 3rd time this summer.

The Earliest Sunrises and Latest Sunsets Occur in the Month of June
South Haven Sunset