Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Longest Day

Today is the day of the Summer Solstice, the day the sun stops (which is what “solstice” means) in its trek northward, and turns south again. It's the first day of summer and the longest day from dawn to dusk in the Northern Hemisphere. Here in the northernmost North American city with a metropolitan population over a million, it has been a fine and sunny day, indeed, in spite of earlier predictions of rain.

A few months ago I was marvelling at the shortness of the day. I noted that the sun rises much later in Edmonton than in Montreal in winter, although it sets at about the same time.

In summer, the dynamic is the opposite. Now the sun rises at about the same time as in Montreal, but it sets much later. Daylight savings at work. According to Environment Canada, sunrise this morning was at 5:04 in Edmonton (I'll take their word for it) and sunset will be at 22:07. That's 17:03 of daylight. In contrast, in Montreal the sun rose at 5:06 and sets at 20:47 for 15:41 of daylight. Somehow having an extra hour and 20 minutes of daylight on a June evening more than compensates for having an hour and a quarter less on a January morning.

Needing my sunglasses to drive at 21:30 will take some getting used to, but I'm willing to make the sacrifice.