Since December, the sun has been progressing northward day by day. Thus, the sun has been reaching a higher and higher maximum angle above the horizon each day.
However, over the Coachella Valley on June 20, the sun’s center will reach approximately 79.7 degrees above the horizon at about 12:47 p.m. With that high angle comes more direct sunlight falling on a given area of the ground and our longest day of the year. Therefore, on that day we officially enter the season so ubiquitous to the desert: summer. Happy June Solstice, everyone!
Each month, Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory astronomer Eric McLaughlin spotlights a notable celestial event. For information about the observatory, visit ranchomiragelibrary.org.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ETHAN KAMINSKY