Embracing the First Day of Summer in Santa Barbara

Summer is officially here! The Earth’s Northern Hemisphere kicks off the summer season on Thursday, the earliest start to the season in over two centuries.

The summer solstice — the exact moment when Earth’s north pole is most tilted towards the sun — happens at 1:51 p.m. PST, according to the National Weather Service.

As the sun reaches its zenith on the longest day of the year, our coastal city of Santa Barbara comes alive with the vibrant spirit of the summer solstice.

This marks the longest day of the year (though the exact number of daylight hours varies by location) and the beginning of astronomical summer.

For Santa Barbara, Thursday is 4 hours, 36 minutes longer than the December solstice. The earliest sunrise was on June 11 or June 12 and the latest sunset is on June 28.

The early arrival of the summer solstice this year can be attributed to quirks in the calendar system. With a typical year having 365 days instead of the Earth’s orbit of 365.24 days, the Gregorian calendar adds a leap day to February every four years to account for the quarter-day difference.

As a result, solstices and equinoxes shift about 45 minutes earlier every four years, causing the approaching solstice to occur earlier than any observed in the 1700s. This trend will continue until 2096, when the earliest solstice of the century is expected to take place on June 20 at 2:32 a.m. ET, coinciding with June 19 in the Pacific time zone for the first time in several centuries.

By 2100, the calendar will undergo a reset as it won’t be a leap year, due to being an exception to the “leap year” rule.

As the official first day of summer the temperatures are also set to match the season with warm weather expected this weekend.

The National Weather Service states warm and windy conditions are expected Saturday through Tuesday in Southern California, with 100+ degree highs over interior areas.

High pressure will build over the region on Saturday and persist through early  next week, bringing hot and dry conditions to SW California. Highs over interior areas will rise to 96 to 106 degrees, resulting in a risk of heat-related illnesses. The  hottest conditions will be on Saturday, but the heat will persist through Tuesday. In addition, there is an increased threat of grass fires, with rapid spread likely with any new or existing fire. Use extra caution in the heat, and with any source of spark or flame!  There is a slight chance of afternoon to evening showers and thunderstorms

For residents and visitors alike, June 20th marks a day of celebration, reflection, and the embrace of the golden season. The first day of summer holds a special significance in Santa Barbara, where the community gathers to honor our local environment.

Staring on Friday, the annual summer solstice celebration in Santa Barbara is a grand affair, drawing inspiration from various cultural and artistic influences to create an unforgettable experience for all who participate.

At the heart of the summer solstice festivities in Santa Barbara is the iconic Solstice Parade, an extravagant procession of art, music, and creativity that winds its way through the city streets. Envisioned as a grand showcase of community spirit and artistic expression, the parade features a dazzling array of handcrafted floats, elaborate costumes, and lively performances that capture the essence of the summer season.

Beyond the parade, Santa Barbara’s celebration of the summer solstice extends to encompass a diverse range of cultural events, live music performances, and communal gatherings that offer something for everyone. From live drum circles on the beach to open-air art shows and dance performances, the city comes alive with a kaleidoscope of experiences that invite people to connect, express themselves, and revel in the magic of the season.

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Edhat Staff

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