Sun Information

General information

The table below shows some general information about the current position of the Sun and associated astronomical events. Seasonal data given applies to the northern hemisphere.

Date & time Wed, Sep 20 2017, 11:00:42 UTC The Sun
Zodiacal degree 177.6°
Zodiacal position 27° of Virgo
Zodiacal sign info Mutable sign of Earth
Zodiacal decan Cadent of Virgo
Planetary ruler of decan Mercury
Tarot card of decan Ten of Disks
Astronomical season Summer
Previous equinox / solstice Summer solstice — Jun 21 2017
Next equinox / solstice Autumnal equinox — Sep 22 2017

All dates/times are UTC, and accurate to within 15 minutes. See next section for times of equinoxes and solstices. Detailed Sun and Moon calendars are also available.

Equinoxes & Solstices

The table below shows the dates and times of the equinoxes and solstices for the previous, current and next years.

Event 2016 2017 2018
Vernal equinox Mar 20, 4:30 Mar 20, 10:19 Mar 20, 16:08
Summer solstice Jun 20, 22:24 Jun 21, 4:12 Jun 21, 10:00
Autumnal equinox Sep 22, 14:08 Sep 22, 19:57 Sep 23, 1:45
Winter solstice Dec 21, 10:38 Dec 21, 16:27 Dec 21, 22:17

All dates/times are UTC, and accurate to within 15 minutes.

Cross-Quarter Days

The “cross-quarter days” originated as pagan holidays in Europe. They fall approximately half-way between the equinoxes and solstices (hence the name) although due to calendar changes the traditional days are now approximately one week earlier than that. Traditional seasons were held to begin on the cross-quarter days (as opposed to the astronomical seasons, which begin on the equinoxes and solstices) and still are, in some cultures.

Day Date Trad. season
Samhain November 1 Winter
Imbolc February 2 Spring
Beltane May 1 Summer
Lughnasadh / Lammas August 1 Autumn

In the Celtic culture, the day was held to begin at sunset on the previous date rather than midnight (hence, in modern times, Hallowe'en falls on October 31, Samhain beginning at sunset on that day). For the same reason, some also claim that the Celtic year began at the onset of Winter, at Samhain.

A Note on the Seasons

There are three generally accepted ways of reckoning the four seasons:

Season Astronomical Traditional Meteorological
Spring March 20–21 February 2–7 March 1
Summer June 20–21 May 4–10 June 1
Autumn September 22–23 August 3–10 September 1
Winter December 21–22 November 5–10 December 1

Note: because of the calendar changes mentioned above, the “traditional” dates in this table — which approximate the mid-points between the equinoxes and solstices — differ from the traditional dates given in the previous section.

As described above, under astronomical reckoning the seasons begin on the equinoxes and the solstices. Under traditional reckoning, the seasons are calculated according to insolation, or the amount of solar energy received. Summer is the season with the greatest light received, and hence the summer solstice (the longest day) is naturally right in the middle of it. Likewise, winter is the season with the least light received, so the winter solstice (the shortest day) is in the middle of that. Finally, under meteorogical reckoning, the seasons are calculated according to average temperature; thus, summer is the hottest season, and winter is the coldest. The seasons fall later under meteorological reckoning than under traditional reckoning because, for instance, the average daily temperature continues to increase after the longest day, as for a period of time the energy received from the Sun will continue to exceed the energy radiated by the Earth and thus cause the temperature to increase, even though the days are shortening.