Return of the Afternoon Sun

Sunset from the Chumash Trail, Simi Valley, California.

Those of us in the northern hemisphere that enjoy afternoon daylight are celebrating the passing of the dank days of Autumn when sunset occurs the earliest in the day. Depending on your location, the amount of afternoon daylight may already be increasing — be it ever so modest.

According to the Astronomical Applications Dept. of the U. S. Naval Observatory, in Los Angeles that day is today, December 11, when the sunset shifts from 4:44 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

The more northerly your latitude, the later the date. In Miami it was back on December 4, and in Seattle it will be on December 18. In Anchorage it won’t be until December 20. Barrow, Alaska won’t see a sunset (or sunrise) until January 23!

You can check your city’s sunset times using the USNO Sun or Moon Rise/Set Table.