Residents in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula noticed a peculiar phenomenon over recent days; as they went about their daily business, their shadows all but disappeared beneath their feet.
Known as the solar zenith, when our Sun reaches its highest point above Earth, resulting in the near total disappearance of lateral shadows, the shadowy disappearances took place across parts of Mexico between May 23 and 25. Some areas, such as Mexico City, experienced the phenomenon even earlier in May.
Solar radiation levels also increased significantly during the the event, but not enough to cause any major harm, outside of the occasional sunburn for those braving the intense Yucatan heat without sunscreen or shade.
“During these days, the sun will be directly above our heads, meaning that, for a brief time during the day, people won’t be able to cast shadows,” astronomer Eddie Salazar Gamboa explained.
The phenomenon happens twice a year, when the sun is above us in spring and after its return during the summer solstice, in areas between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The next such event will take place in July.