Get out your bathing suits, get the grills ready and pack the sunscreen (as if those things weren’t already being used). Summer starts on Friday!!

The summer solstice occurs at 10:54 a.m. on Friday, marking the start of the summer season here in East Texas. It’s the time of the year in which the northern hemisphere (where we are) is facing the sun more directly.

Brett Collar | TSM

The earth is tilted on its axis at 23.5°. Well technically it wobbles a little from 22.5° to 24.5°, but you get the idea. That tilt is the reason why we have seasons here on earth.

As the earth rotates around the sun, that tilt is almost constant. So there are times in which the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun (winter months), and there are times in which the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun (summer months).

On Friday, the summer solstice, the northern hemisphere will be at the position in which it’s most tilted towards the sun. This causes us to see 14 hours and 16 minutes of daylight hours, the most daylight hours of the year. After Friday, we begin to see less and less daylight hours.

On Friday, the sun comes up at 6:14 a.m. and sets at 8:31 p.m. However the summer solstice is not the earliest sunrise, nor is it the latest sunset. Those dates are:

Earliest sunrise: June 12th, 6:13 a.m.

Latest sunset: June 29th, 8:32 p.m.

Summer continues until mid to late September. The Fall Equinox is on September 23 at 2:50 a.m.

Along with the earth being tilted on its axis, there are times of the year in which the earth is closer and further away from the sun. At first thought, you might think that the earth is closer to the sun during the summer months, but that’s incorrect. In fact, we’re closer to the sun during the winter months.

On January 3, the earth is in a position called the “Perihelion”, in which we’re 91,500,000 miles away from the sun. Then on July 4, we’re at what’s called the “Aphelion, in which we’re 94,500,000 miles away from the earth.

Brett Collar | TSM

So the distance from the sun doesn’t really have that much of an effect our seasons, but rather its earth being tilted on its axis.