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December 9, 2010

Sunsets get later from now until June 28


Winter sunsetCheer up! Your days will soon brighten – at least in the afternoon. Last night witnessed the earliest sunset of the year, at 4:43 p.m. EST in Baltimore. From today, our afternoons will begin to get longer until the latest sunset, at 8:37 p.m. EDT, June 28.

 We’re not fully over the hump. Sunrises will continue to get later until Jan. 4. And total daylight hours will continue to dwindle until the advance of dusk outpaces that of the dawn, on Dec. 21 - the winter solstice.

 Text SKY to 70701 to get SKY NOTES posts like this one sent to your mobile device.

(SUN PHOTO: Karl Merton Ferron, February 2003)


Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition, Sky Notes


It was a very cold 11F here in northern Carroll County. Much colder than the NWS forecast for this morning.

FR: Clear skies, calm winds and loads of radiational cooling. We got down to 17 on the WeatherDeck in Cockeysville this morning. It was 19 at BWI, and 24 at The Sun's station downtown.


i always wondered why the 2 week difference from earliest sunset to latest sunrise from the winter solstice, but only a one week difference for the earliest sunrise and the latest sunset from the summer solstice? is it latitude? earth's elliptical orbit?

FR: Both. Latitude determines the date of the earliest sunset and latest sunrise. The dates we use here are those for 40 degrees North (a bit north of Baltimore, but close enough). The farther north you go, the closer to the solstice those dates become. The difference in the spread between the extremes of sunrise and sunset and the two solstices is a function of both the tilt in the Earth's axis and the eccentricity of its orbit - the fact that the orbit around the sun is not a perfect circle with the sun at the center. Any further explanation and both our heads would explode.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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