Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere Viewed From Space

June 21, 2014


Image courtesy of NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Summary Author: Jim Foster

This satellite image of the Western Hemisphere was acquired from about 22,000 mi (35,400 km) above the equator, in the early morning hours of June 19, 2014. Dawn is breaking over central North America, but it's still nighttime along the Pacific Coast.

At the time of the summer solstice, for the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun is overhead the Tropic of Cancer (approximately 23 1/2 degrees north latitude). Thus the top of the globe, above the Arctic Circle, is now bathed in sunlight since the Sun's above the horizon here all day. However, it's dark at the bottom of the globe -- the Sun's below the horizon the entire day. In fact, at the South Pole the Sun will be absent from the sky until September. Note the sunglint over the Bahama Islands and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. On this particular image, the Sun, at noon, was directly overhead the Indian subcontinent.