The midpoint of summer officially occurs on August 7, 2023, meaning summer is half over. Depending on how your summer is going, 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 21, the length of daylight has been getting shorter; a result of the Sun’s direct rays migrating back toward the south.
Summer is when the Sun reaches 90 degrees of longitude, and fall begins when the Sun reaches 180 degrees longitude. The midpoint, therefore, comes when the Sun reaches 135 degrees longitude and, in 2023, this occurs during the day of August 7.
Traditional Midpoint of Summer – Lammas Day
While August 7th is the official midpoint of summer, the traditional midpoint of the summer season actually occurs on August 1st, which is marked on some Christian calendars as Lammas Day, one of the four traditional “cross-quarter” days midway between the solstices and the equinoxes.
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. Celebrations of Lammas Day include baking of bread, and enjoying a feast with friends and family.
Over the centuries since this tradition took root in Europe, the calendar drifted with respect to Earth’s position in its orbit. So in 2022, the midpoint between the June solstice and the September equinox has changed from August 1st, and its true midpoint—the moment that comes exactly between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox in 2022—happens Saturday, August 7th. On that day, as seen from the Philadelphia for example, the Sun will set at 8:07 p.m., with the loss of daylight since June 21 amounting to a little less than 30 minutes.
Midpoint vs Midsummer
Midsummer is actually a reference to the summer solstice, the first day of summer. Find out why!
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 23, the Sun for people in Philadelphia will set at 6:56 p.m.— 1 hour and 54 minutes of less daylight since Aug. 7th.
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.
Join the Discussion
Are you enjoying summer or do you like the cooler seasons better?
What’s your favorite part of summer?