June 21st is the Northern Solstice and marks the shortest day here in the Southern Hemisphere. On the 21st the sunrise is around 7:48am and sunset 5:00pm in Wellington, giving just over 9 hours of potential sunshine for the capital. The timing of sunrise and sunset varies from location to location, sunrise in Gisborne being almost an hour earlier than in Invercargill. You can find the sunrise and sunset times on the forecast pages at www.metservice.com, just underneath the towns and cities forecasts.
As we approach summer in NZ, the Sun gets higher in the sky and increasingly warms the Earth and the air around us. In the early 1600s Galileo Galilei explained that the Earth goes around the Sun, but there's no reason why we can't discuss the apparent movement of the Sun across the sky, as you see it from a frame of reference fixed to the Earth. Let's do that, and investigate the different ways that the Sun drives our seasons.