SEATTLE — Summer 2022, which officially begins Tuesday with the June solstice, feels more like pre-COVID-19 summers — though we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that the pandemic hasn’t been declared over.
Still, there’s plenty to do around Washington this summer, including hiking, camping and grilling. The 2022 June solstice, which marks the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, occurs Tuesday at 2:14 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
The sun travels its longest path through the sky on the day of the summer solstice, which occurs the exact moment Sol reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky, making it the longest day of the year in terms of daylight.
On Tuesday, the sun will rise at 5:11 a.m. in Seattle and will set at 9:10 p.m., meaning we’ll see nearly 16 hours of daylight. For an especially rare treat, the latest forecast calls for partly sunny skies and afternoon temperatures in the 70s. By the weekend, the Emerald City could log its first 80-degree day of the year.
You can read more about the science of the summer solstice on The Old Farmer’s Almanac website. The more urgent concern is how you’re going to spend the summer. Here are a few ideas:
Put Your Head In The Sky
The summer solstice offers a short window to see electric blue noctilucent clouds, the highest in Earth’s atmosphere, which float about 50 miles above our planet’s surface near the edge of space, which starts at an altitude of 62 miles.
Also, through the end of June, check out a rare planetary alignment that won’t be seen again for decades. Around June 24 is the best date to look, according to the private weather company AccuWeather, because a crescent moon will join the lineup of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the predawn sky.
Watch For Shooting Stars
The summer meteor showers start in July with the Delta Aquariids, which run for more than a month and peak in late July, but you won’t have to wait to lose yourself in the full wonder of the summer sky.
The shooting star show you really want to catch is the Perseid meteor shower, which produces up to 60 shooting stars an hour at the peak. The shower, which runs July 17 to Aug. 24, is known for producing large numbers of bright meteors. The Perseids fly mainly after midnight and can be seen anywhere in the sky, though they radiate from the constellation Perseus.
Owooooo! Howl At The Moon
You’ll also have a few chances to howl at a full moon this summer, a perfect primordial tradition that developed in some neighborhoods as people looked for ways to stay connected while staying apart during the pandemic.
But why ditch it now that people are getting out more? Of particular interest for howling are the next two full moons, the full buck moon on July 13 and the full sturgeon moon on Aug. 12. Both qualify as supermoons, and though they’re not any different from other full moons, they appear to be bigger and brighter.
Also, don’t miss the last full moon of the summer on Sept. 10. It’s known as the full harvest moon.
Light Your Fire In The Back Yard
Humans have been drawn to fire since they first encountered it, ultimately using it for heat, light and protection against predators.
Depending on where you live, nothing says summer like gathering — a safe distance apart from one another — and spinning stories around a bonfire in the back yard.
Suburban dwellers typically have to rely on a fire pit, fire ring or chiminea, and the use of those is often regulated by city and fire officials.
Source: Bellevue Patch