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Poor Will's Almanack: June 21 - 27, 2016

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Ryan Dingman
/
Flickr Creative Commons

Summer solstice is history  now, and on June 23rd, the sun begins its six-month descent to winter solstice. Middle summer typically begins this week along the 40th Parallel, and it lasts until the Dog Days weaken in the first of the late summer high-pressure systems, about August 10. In these six to seven weeks, approximately an hour is lost from the day's length and the year turns toward autumn. 

Even though night lengthens in this middle season, the amount of possible sunshine reaches its zenith, and the percentage of totally sunny days is the highest of the year throughout almost all of North America. And between now and the end of the first week of August, average temperatures vary just one degree.
Warmed by the waning sun, the Raspberry Moon wanes through the remainder of June, entering its final quarter on the 27th, ripening raspberries throughout the East, reddening strawberries in the Northwest, turning blackberries black in the South.

Coming up late at night and setting in the early afternoon, this moon invites star gazing  just after dark. Free frin moon-glow, the Milky Way lies across the eastern horizon, then, and  Cygnus the Swan, the Northern Cross, is rising out of the dark trees.

Then after midnight, the bright moon is overhead, hiding the stars in its path , but inviting you to long walks in its gibbous radiance before dawn.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first full week of middle summer. In the meantime,  walk in the light – the moon light. It’s time.
 

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.