AUSTIN (KXAN) — July 8 marks a special day each year. It is the day when the most people on Earth will see daylight at the same time. The event occurs at 11:15 Universal Time (UTC). This is at 6:15 a.m. in Austin, which is located in the Central Time zone.
The event occurs because of both the Earth’s orbit and because of where people live. Last year, a widely circulated tweet and reddit post originally reported that 99% of the Earth’s population will see daylight at that time.
According to Time and Date, only people living in Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and Southeast Asia are exposed to some form of daylight at 11:15UTC. People living in the western Americas and eastern Asia are exposed to some form of twilight at that time. Austin is in the early dawn hours.
About 80 million people are still in the dark, according to population data gathered by Time and Date. The US Census reports that 7.9 billion people are alive today. This means on July 8th, 2022, 7.1 billion people saw some form of daylight.
Around four billion people live in Asia, the most populated continent. Africa, the second most populated continent with 1.3 billion people, were fully exposed to daylight. Europe comes in third with 744 million people living there. That continent was also fully exposed.
Here’s the downside. While some people were exposed to daylight, it was so minimal they wouldn’t have been able to tell. People who live along the west coast, sorry California, weren’t able to notice this glorious moment.
What about the summer solstice?
The summer solstice is the longest day of the year for the northern hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean the whole planet is getting exposed to sunlight at the same time, just more sunlight. According to Time and Date’s sun map, slightly fewer people in eastern Asia see sunlight at the same time on the solstice.
On the solstice, Austin, TX sees a little more than fourteen hours of sunlight. On July 8th, Central Texas sees exactly fourteen hours.
Forms of Twilight
Not all people on Earth saw the same amount of light. This is because of the curvature of the Earth and the angle the Earth orbits the sun.
- Civil Twilight – When the sun is six degrees below the horizon in the morning or at dusk. Only the brightest stars can be seen at this time and artificial lights aren’t needed.
- Nautical Twilight – The sun is now 12-degrees below the horizon. Stars can now be seen, but the horizon is still visible. Turn those lights on, it is now too dark to see well.
- Astronomical Twilight – This sun is now 18-degrees below the horizon. At this point, its basically night but a tiny bit of sun still creeps up over the horizon. The stars can easily be seen but so can planets.
Once the sun dips below 18-degrees, it is officially night.