It was almost time for Alice Enevoldsen‘s 2020 spring-equinox sunset watch when the pandemic started shutting down schools and businesses and dropped the curtain on in-person events. So the educator and NASA Solar System Ambassador took her quarterly change-of-seasons events online, after 10+ years of gatherings at West Seattle’s Solstice Park. Tonight, for the 2021 summer solstice, she quietly returned.
She streamed the event from what she announced only as an “undisclosed West Seattle location” that turned out to be Solstice Park. About two dozen people were there enjoying the view, and got a bonus explanation of the park’s special stones and paths lining up with the solstice and equinox sunsets:
“Welcome to summer!” she exuberantly greeted her in-person and internet audiences, proceeding to explain the solstice (it’s when the North Pole is at maximum tilt toward the sun). She says that if the pandemic continues to wind down, she’ll be back to host an all-out fall-equinox sunset watch – which will be her 50th since starting the sunset watches in 2009.
P.S. It was a great sunset – here’s our photo from the park:
And here’s the view from a bit further south, photographed by James Bratsanos as the post-sunset colors deepened:
The solstice doesn’t bring the latest sunset, though – tonight’s official sunset time (though the sun disappears behind the mountains sooner, as Alice noted) was 9:10 pm – on Tuesday that goes to 9:11 pm and stays there through next Monday, before it starts getting earlier.