The Dark of the Year

Depending on where you live, places in the northern hemisphere are experiencing their earliest sunsets around now.  In Miami, Florida, the earliest sunset was back around November 29.  In Seattle, Washington, the earliest sunset is not until December 10.  In San Francisco, the earliest sunset is around December 7. 

The latest sunrise for Seattle is about January 1; for Miami it's not until January 12; for San Francisco, it's about January 6.

Mid-winter, the winter solstice, is on December 21 at 11:12 Greenwich Mean Time.  That's the "shortest day of the year" but due to astronomical sciencey stuff called the analemma, the day of earliest sunset, the day of solstice, and the day of latest sunrise are not the same (unless you live on the equator, where all days are 12 hours long!). 

I am always glad when the earliest sunset is past, even though it only varies by much less than a minute per day when the sun is rounding the corner of the analemma, as it were.  I'm glad because I tend to do more of my non-employment-related outdoor activity in the evening, and even a few more seconds of light gives me some hope that the evenings will soon be noticeably brighter. 

May your days be merry and bright!

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