Moon just past full on the morning of Jan. 13, 2017, from Mutare, Zimbabwe. This week – beginning Tuesday morning, June 11, 2017 – watch for the daytime moon. No matter where you are on Earth, look generally westward after sunrise to see the moon in a clear blue daytime sky. Photo: Peter Lowenstein, courtesy

EYES TO THE SKY: Imbibe the summer Sun, the sunrise moon

July 10 – 23, 2017


Meteorological versus astronomical summer. Image courtesy NASA
Meteorological versus astronomical summer. Image courtesy NASA

Mount Washington — Hold on! Hold on to the Sun! In the weeks since the summer solstice, the northeast has been transformed. A great leafy uprising has spread over the land, drawn to seemingly ever-present sunlight. The green swell has been lifting for months, first in measured increments, now burgeoning. Bare forests have transformed in waves of unfurling leaves, flowers and seeds. Northern ground, warmed by the returning Sun, made much of our spring sowings. Now, under high Sun, we are feeding ourselves from our gardens and regional farms. It is our season to let go of dependency on the sunlit fields of faraway lands for our food.

Savor the fullness of the long days, for there’s no holding on! Earth’s North Pole has begun to tilt away from its maximum position in relation to the Sun. Day length at the beginning of this month was 15 hours, 13 minutes. At month’s end, 44 minutes will have been added to nighttime. Experience the difference as darkness falls earlier each evening and lasts later into the morning.

Dawn's waning moon rises in the company of planet Venus and winter's nighttime stars.
Dawn’s waning moon rises in the company of planet Venus and winter’s nighttime stars.

After a relative pause (solstice = Sun stand still) momentum is behind the Sun’s southerly movement. The longest days of the year, 15 hours or more between sunrise and sunset, prevail three weeks before and three weeks after June 21, the summer solstice; that’s from May 31 through Thursday, July 13, this year. Beginning Friday the 14th, there will be a loss of about 2 minutes of sunlight everyday this month, ending the month with 14 hours, 29 minutes between sunrise and sunset. Observe sunrise lose its furthest north of east position on the horizon each day. Likewise, the Sun slips from its most northwesterly reach as it sets, moving toward its next marker, due west, at the autumn equinox.

July’s Full Moon, known as the Thunder or Hay Moon, occurred at 12:07 a.m. EDT on the 9th. Moonrise tonight, one night past full, is at 9:29 p.m. in the east-southeast. Add half an hour to moonrise time each subsequent night.