Eyes to the Sky: June welcomes sun-filled days

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The earliest sunrises of the year, 5:17 a.m. EDT, begin today and will continue through June 22.

May segued into June with 15 hours of daylight. At a quickened pace, the embodiments of sunshine have arrived in the Berkshires. Our star's light and heat unfurled winter buds to broad green leaves gradually, at first, in elevation bands that climbed to the tops of the mountains just a week ago. Even as we look ahead to the heat of summer, Earth's northern hemisphere -- after a brief pause -- will begin to turn away from our star. Although morning light will start to decrease -- imperceptibly at first -- in two weeks, evening light will increase in the coming two weeks and remain the latest of the year until July 1.

Pause now, to remark the morning light. When outdoors around 5 a.m., planet Venus, the brilliant Morning Star, is low in the eastern sky. A twilight choir of bird song, especially the wood thrush's flute-like passages, opens the day. A newborn, spotted fawn moves on wobbly legs near its mother. Woodland wildflowers scent the air and offer radiant color and fanciful form to the eye.

It would seem that we are approaching midsummer not the first day of summer. Red maple trees have set seed and a profusion of flower spikes are in bud amid the leaves of black cherry. Robins are feeding nestlings. Asparagus, green onions, lettuce and herbs are being harvested at local farms and gardens. The longest days of the year are from mid-May until the end of July, about six weeks before and six weeks after the Summer Solstice, which occurs June 21.

Sunset tonight will be at 8:27; the latest sunsets, 8:34. As twilight deepens, see the bright stars that form the Summer Triangle twinkle close above the east-northeast horizon. This great triangle travels the sky all night all summer.

To contact Judy Isacoff, go to: www.naturesturn.org


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