June Solstice 2016

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The June solstice is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. It took place at 22:34 UTC on 20 June.

June Solstice 2016
Date & Time
20 June 2016 22:00 UTC–21 June 01:45 UTC
Meteosat-10, Suomi-NPP
Natural Colour RGB, Solar Composite, Day-Night Band

By Jose Prieto and Sancha Lancaster (EUMETSAT) and HansPeter Roesli (Switzerland)

In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice can fall on different dates from year to year, between 20 and 22 June. This year, a leap year, it was on 20 June.

The solstice also happened during a full moon, which in June is known as a Strawberry Moon — a rare astronomical occurrence.

Figure 2
Figure 2: Meteosat-10 channel 10.8 µm completed with the natural solar composite in the upper boundary, 20 June 22:42 UTC

This solstice marks the shortest night in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest night in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Arctic region, above 66.6 degrees latitude, the sun does not set in 24 hours.

The Meteosat-10 imagery, 20 June 22:00 UTC–21 June 01:45 UTC (MP4, 768 KB) around midnight shows the sun-illuminated region in the upper part, close to the Earth's upper boundary, as a result of maximum Earth tilting at this time of the year.

The grazing sun light reaching the satellite is enhanced by reflection on flat surfaces, as lakes or calm ocean areas.

The evolution of the sunglint area on water surfaces can be followed in the animation, progressing from west to east.

The sensors for solar radiation saturate for strong signals and can 'blind' neighbouring pixels to the west.

The cloud-free areas in the Norwegian sea are pictured with a better resolution by the VIIRS instrument on SNPP, without sunglint. This image (Figure 3) uses VIIRS Day-Night Band (DNB) channel at 00:00 UTC on 21 June.

The polar orbit reaches further north than Meteosat, and allows a glimpse into the almost clear Kara Sea and the area east of Svalbard.

Figure 3
Figure 3: Suomi-NPP VIIRS DNB, 21 June 00:00 UTC

See also:

Summer Solstice and Strawberry Moon: What is it? Why do we celebrate the longest day of the year? (Independent)
Summer solstice 2016: Everything you need to know about the longest day of the year (The Washington Post)

Previous solstice case studies

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