SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Bay Area marked the longest day of the year Tuesday with clear skies and warm temperatures.

National Weather Service forecaster Diana Henderson explained that on Tuesday the sun is aligned with the Tropic of Cancer, meaning it is the time of year when the Northern Hemisphere gets the most sunlight.

After Tuesday, the Northern Hemisphere will begin tilting away from the sun, meaning shorter days and longer nights. In the Southern Hemisphere, Tuesday is the shortest day of the year and the beginning of winter, Henderson said.

At 1:11 p.m., the Bay Area experienced “solar noon,” which is when the sun is at its highest point at this longitude, Chabot Space and Science Center spokesman Robert Ade said.

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At the science center, located at 10000 Skyline Blvd. in Oakland, there was a solar noon viewing in the Chabot rotunda. At that time, shadows align onto a compass rose on the first floor below the rotunda skylights, Ade said.

To take in the year’s longest twilight before the sun starts to set at 8:34 p.m., the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is having a summer solstice bonfire at Muir Beach in Marin County from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

National Park Service spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said the public is welcome to bring chairs and sing and tell stories around the bonfire during the annual family-friendly event. Rangers will attend to share information about the solstice.

In San Francisco, a group has posted information online for a summer solstice celebration and bonfire at Ocean Beach, with the group gathering near Taraval Street and Great Highway at 7:30 p.m.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

  1. Laura Hopper says:

    This is for Roberta Gonzalez — this has bothered me for years! Our coastline is not a “seashore” — it is a “coastline”, or an “ocean shore” ! The Pacific Ocean is an OCEAN, not a sea. A Sea is smaller, such as the Mediterranean Sea, or the Black Sea. We do not have a Sea, we have an Ocean. Please change your language from the SEASHORE to the COAST or the OCEANSHORE or some such language referring to an ocean. Thank you!

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