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So, Exactly How Long Is Summer Actually?


Is summer your favorite season? It’s ours as well. Sure, every other season has its appeal, but none can truly compare. Occurring between spring and winter, summer offers warm weather, sunny skies, and generally good vibes. 

This may sound silly, but have you ever thought about what you consider as summer? Bear with us on this one. We may know the first day of summer is on or around June 21, but it’s actually not that common to actually wait until that date to start celebrating the season. For most of us, Memorial Day weekend marks the kickoff of summer, regardless of the fact that it actually begins some three to four weeks later. 

That’s because there are two different types of summer: astronomical and meteorological. (Don’t worry, we didn’t know there were two types of summer either.) As you may be able to guess from the two different names, one is determined by astronomy and the other by weather, though they both refer to the same general time frame. If you’re confused, don’t fret, we’ll explain all this and more below. Just keep reading for your complete breakdown of summer.

Astronomical Summer

Alright, first let's cover astronomical summer — the summer that is determined by Earth's position in regards to the sun. According to this science, summer begins at the moment of the summer solstice, also known as the longest day of the year. This year, in 2019, the Northern Hemisphere's solstice occurred on June 21 at 15:54 UTC, to be exact!

The end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere happens at the autumnal equinox, which is on September 23, 2019. Therefore, June 21 to September 23 is 2019's astronomical summer. 

The reason solstices and equinoxes are not on fixed dates every year is because they're based on Earth's orbit around the sun, which isn't exactly 365 days.

Meteorological Summer

Then we have meteorological summer, which is based on the weather. Many of us consider the start of summer the beginning of June, and we're not wrong.

Meteorologists have their own definition of summer that revolves around climate and temperature — and there's actually a scientific purpose behind it. By designating their own season, they're able to compare the weather conditions of each season from year to year. This approximately 90 day period is typically June, July, and August in the Northern Hemisphere, and December through February in the Southern Hemisphere.

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