Stonehenge in the summer sunshine
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When does summer start?

Astronomical summer

The astronomical calendar determines the seasons due to the 23.5 degrees of tilt of the Earth's rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the Sun. Both Equinoxes and Solstices are related to the Earth's orbit around the Sun.

This year, astronomical summer began on 21 June 2019 and ended on 23 September 2019.

For upcoming years, the dates for astronomical summer will be;

Year Summer Starts Summer Ends
Summer 2019 Friday, 21 June 2019 Monday, 23 September 2019
Summer 2020 Saturday, 20 June 2020

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Summer 2021

Monday, 21 June 2021

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Summer 2022

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Friday, 23 September 2022

Summer 2023

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Saturday, 23 September 2023

Summer 2024

Thursday, 20 June 2024

Sunday, 22 September 2024

 

Meteorological summer

However, meteorologists are also interested in the beginning of the meteorological summer. Meteorological summer will always begin on 1 June; ending on 31 August.

The meteorological seasons consist of splitting the seasons into four periods made up of three months each. These seasons are split to coincide with our Gregorian calendar, making it easier for meteorological observing and forecasting to compare seasonal and monthly statistics. 

The seasons are defined as spring (March, April, May), summer (June, July, August), autumn (September, October, November) and winter (December, January, February).

Solstices and equinoxes

Solstices and equinoxes are the astronomical transition points between the seasons and mark key stages in the astronomical cycle of the Earth. In a year there are two equinoxes (spring and autumn) and two solstices (summer and winter). The dates of the Equinoxes and Solstices aren't fixed due to the Earth's elliptical orbit of the Sun. The Earth's orbit around the Sun means that in early January, the Sun is closest (known as perihelion) and in early July it is most distant (aphelion).