The High-Water Mark of Winter

I have wonderful news: the days will not, in fact, keep getting shorter and shorter until inky blackness is total and the sun is forever blotted from the sky. Maybe you are cleverer than I am, but I have my doubts every year. In my corner of the northern hemisphere, yesterday was the day with earliest sunset. Although the day as measured from sunrise to sunset will keep shrinking for a few more weeks, the sunset has done its worst and must now spend six months in retreat. Get her running and keep the skeer up! There’s better days ahead, boys.

When I mentioned the significance of this day to my wife, she asked me just how much later the sun will set today. With the help of a handy spreadsheet from the NOAA, I can now tell you the answer. And the answer is… three seconds. Say what you will, but that’s three more seconds of sunlight where I come from.

Here’s a screenshot from an iPhone app that I recommend (as does Dan) called Star Walk. It shows the sun crossing the horizon on its way to bed.

sunset

And finally, while we are on our way to the winter solstice here, Saturn has been experiencing its equinox. Check out these Boston.com Big Picture views of Saturn at equinox. That Cassini machine is a wonder.

One thought on “The High-Water Mark of Winter”

  1. Back in the day, when I used to teach Algebra 2/Trig., my students would graph the length of the day over the course of a year. (x = the calendar date, y= the length of the day) Makes a nice sine-like wave.

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