The Summer Solstice occurs on June 20 at just after sunset.

The sun reaches its highest path in the sky for the year and the length of daylight hours is at a maximum; throughout June sunrise is before 4.45am and sunset is after 9pm.

Full moon is on the night of the 21st/22nd, and being so close to the solstice, the moon’s path across the sky will be exceptionally low, only rising to nine degrees above the horizon when due south at 1am.

Throughout June and into July, noctilucent clouds (NLC) can form, appearing as silvery waves or swirls in the summer twilight, seen looking towards the north.

NLC form at 50 miles up in the atmosphere, far higher than any other clouds, on the edge of space.

During our high summer period the sun is only just below the northern horizon during the night, and so the sun’s rays can illuminate the NLC due to their high altitude, thus making them visible against a fairly dark sky.

Saturn is the only bright planet readily on show this month, seen in pre-dawn skies looking to the South East. The waning Moon will be nearby Saturn on the mornings of 27th and 28th June.

Solar activity is approaching the peak of its 11-year cycle which increases the chances of seeing the Aurora.

In May, a huge sunspot group unleashed a powerful ‘solar storm’ of charged particles towards the earth, leading to the biggest display of the Aurora for over 20 years, seen over the UK on the night of May 10th/11th.

The Aurora are normally visible at high latitudes but this display was seen from the south of the USA and even from Africa.

There could be more big displays this year and forecasts can be found on websites such as and

The image shown was taken by James Abbott from North Essex Astronomical Society using an astro camera and shows the green, red and purple colours of the aurora, but this big display of 2024 also showed just how good smartphones are at taking images of the aurora.

Thousands of people all over the UK took excellent pictures with their phones of what for many was their first experience of seeing the ‘Northern Lights’.