Why Is June 21 The Longest Day Of The Year?

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By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - The Earth tilts on an axis as it orbits around the sun.

In the Northern Hemisphere, June 21 is the day when we are tilted closest to the sun -- thus the sun appears highest in the sky (about 66 degrees above the horizon at noon for Seattle). That means the sun spends the most amount of time above the horizon that day.

It's exactly opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, where the Earth is tilted furthest away from the sun, so for them, today's the first day of winter. So while we're in shorts, Australians are bundling up.

It works the opposite for winter on Dec. 21. That's when we're tilted furthest away from the sun, and get the shortest day of the year.

Your Photos

YouNews Sunday Images Sunday Images
These images were taken Sunday, December 14 with a Nikon D3100 and an Explore Scientific ED127 (Moon) and ED80 (M42
and M31).
YouNews Weekend Sky Weekend Sky
The images of M42 (Orion) and M31 (Andromeda) are short
stacks (lights only) taken Sunday evening with an Explore
Scientific ED80 (wide angle) telescope and a Nikon D3100 DSLR. The image of the moon was taken with an Explore Scientific ED127 (5-inch) refractor.