NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summer's here and the time is right ... for photos, to get us in the proper spirit for what's ahead. We'll take a look first at the good things augured by summer's arrival. Then, we'll remind you of the bad, just because we're realistic like that. Our planet's Northern Hemisphere is ready for its metaphorical beachwear, as of June 21, which marks the summer solstice. Socially, the summer solstice means it's time for school to be out, for swimming, for barbecues. But astronomically speaking, it marks the longest day of the year. Of course, the poor Southern Hemisphere gets to start winter, but that's another story, and probably another gallery! This image comes from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite and shows the Americas on June 21, 2012.Sun Celebrates Solstice with Flare
Life's a beach, right? What's more gooder than that? Time to break out the volleyball nets, accidentally crush children's sand castles, or just run in the water and then run back out again because it's
too cold for your liking.Top 10 Beaches of 2013
Don't have access to a beach? Go jump in a lake! OK, that came out wrong. Er, enjoy some fun in the body of water of your choice, if you can find one.Lake That Turns Animals to Stone? Not Quite
California State Parks
Hiking is the only way to climb, for some summer-timers. You might step out on the Tahoe Rim Trail, for example.VIDEO: Monster Goldfish Invade Lake Tahoe
For kids, summer means school's out and it's time for swimming. They'll spend as much time wet as dry.Swimming Apes Take to the Pool
Summer is also a time for barbecues. Your resident grill master will be rested and ready, after a winter spent staring forlornly at the giant Weber under the tarp.12 Must-Haves for Great Grilling and Better BBQ'ing
If a BBQ's not your thing, maybe it's sailing. Of course, you might not have access to PlanetSolar’s catamaran Tûranor, the largest ship in the world to run on solar power alone, but you'll find a way to sail
in the water. An inflatable raft is always nice.Remote-Control Cargo Ships Could Set Sail
Albert Kok, Wikimedia Commons
And, now, we must turn to the bad ledger for summer. Bad as in worrisome, dangerous, or ... just a little bit annoying. Remember the beach we saw earlier? Here's an unwelcome guest near any beach. Sadly, it will be a lucky summer if we don't hear many stories of sharks lingering too close to shore (and all of those big and small feet sloshing around in the surf). Sure, the shark can't help being a shark, but we'd rather he just stick to deeper waters.Shark-Eat-Shark: Are Great White Sharks Cannibals?
Sizzzzzzle. We won't find anyone willing to put sunburns in summer's "good" column. Thankfully, there are plenty of sticks, creams, roll-ons and other assorted goop we can slather on ourselves to keep the sun's rays at bay. We all know the sunblock drill by now ... right?
With the increased heat of summer, up also goes the likelihood of wildfires. We can all hope they're held at bay this summer, and that people are careful with their flammables out in the forest.PHOTOS: Wildfire Season Off to a Hot Start
Just as likely as wildfires will be a heat wave or three. We're torn about this particular scene. No one likes a prolonged heat wave, but what's not fun about standing in a fountain? Perhaps this is a perfect place to end our gallery. Have a great summer, DNews readers!