Clear skies this morning. I managed to get out for an early observation of the beautiful moonrise with Venus and Mars. It always surprises me that these objects have enough light to cast a faint shadow in the first light of false dawn.

All three objects are grouped in constellation Aries. Hamel, the alpha star or lucida of the Ram, was clearly visible this morning with Shearatan, above the crescent moon.

This year, the summer, or northern, solstice occurs at 4am, eastern time, this coming Sunday, June 21, when the sun reaches its northernmost extreme.

Solstice from the Latin Sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). The arc of a great celestial pendulum pauses for the briefest moment (at 23.44° north, the ‘Tropic of Cancer’) and then begins its slow journey south. Longest day for sunlight, about 15 hours at my locations, about 38° north. 19 June