Wednesday, August 7, 2019, is officially the midpoint of summer, meaning …. summer is half over. Depending on how your summer is going weather-wise, this is either good news or bad news. But one thing is constant for everyone: it is getting darker earlier in the evening. Since the Summer Solstice on June 21st, the length of daylight has been getting shorter; a result of the Sun’s direct rays migrating back toward the south.
Traditional Midpoint of Summer
The “traditional midpoint” of the summer season is August 1st, which is marked on some Christian calendars as Lammas Day. The name is derived from the Old English “loaf-mass,” because it was once observed as a harvest festival. In fact, Lammas Day comes almost exactly six months after Groundhog Day, the traditional midpoint of winter.
But summer’s true midpoint—the moment that comes exactly between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox in 2019— happens this Wednesday, August 7th at 7:52 a.m. Eastern Time (4:52 a.m. Pacific Time). On that day, as seen from Boston, for example, the Sun will set at 7:57 p.m., with the loss of daylight since June 21st amounting to 63 minutes.
Amount of Daylight is Decreasing…Quickly!
If you think about it, the length of daylight was rather substantial since about the middle of May. And the lowering of the Sun’s path across the sky and the diminishing of the daylight hours was rather subtle during the first half of the summer season.
But during the second half of summer, the effects of the southward shift of the Sun’s direct rays become much more noticeable. When autumn officially arrives on September 23rd, the Sun for Bostonians will set at 6:40 p.m.—America’s Walking City will have lost 2 hours and 6 minutes of daylight since Aug. 7th.
That comes out to an average loss of 2.68 minutes of daylight per day. That doesn’t sound like much, but it sure adds up quickly: over a span of just one week, it amounts to a loss of nearly 20 minutes of daylight.
So enjoy the last half of the summer season and get in as much of your favorite activities as you can before there’s a chill in the air and darkness wins out over daylight.