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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 6 December, 2019
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So we all know today is the longest day of the year. But exactly how long?

Technically the darkest it gets is very dark twilight.

sunrise

AS YOU’VE BEEN told since you were a child, 21 June is the longest day of the year.

Exactly how long? Well, in Dublin there’s 17 hours and 15 seconds of full on daylight today and even more when you include twilight.

Naturally up north they have even more of the day to enjoy, with Letterkenny getting a full 22 minutes more than the capital. Sunrise there will start at 4.57am and the sun will set at 9.27pm.

In fact, at this time of year there’s no full on darkness. The darkest it gets is a period known as astronomical twilight.

You don’t believe me? This photo was taken on Wednesday night at Newgrange by Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland.

solstice Bright at 12am at night. It almost looks like dawn but the orange glow is light pollution on the low cloud from nearby Drogheda. Source: Facebook/Anthony Murphy

Because of how the atmosphere bends light from the sun, even when the sun sets below the horizon we still get the benefit of light. Astronomical twilight is considered dark enough far stargazing and begins when the sun sets more than 18 degrees below the horizon.

That’s it though, Ireland’s geographical position is north enough so that’s about as dark as it gets. The sun doesn’t set far enough below the horizon for astronomical twilight to end.

Of course, we’ve got nothing some parts of the world where there’s 24 hours of sunlight in the Arctic Circle throughout the Summer months.

The actual moment of the Summer solstice will happen before noon, it’ll happen a minute or so apart in different of the country but it’s roughly at 11.50am.

The Hill of Tara is one of the locations where the high summer will be recognised today with Tara Celebrations holding a event at under the theme of  ’Bountiful & Gratitude’ from 6.30pm which begins at the entrance gate to the Hill of Tara.

“All are welcome,” says the event page. “And if you want to come and just sit on the Hill that is fine. Some of us are extroverts and like to express our energies, and those of the get together, outwardly.

The one thing that has been made very clear at Tara Celebrations over the years is that if you want to sing or dance it is from the heart and has nothing to do with performance or pleasing others.

Read: Can you really stand an egg on end on the day of the vernal equinox? >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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