Sunrise, Sunset

sunrise sunset

Being a bit of an insomniac, I often see the sunrise. I don’t live on the Atlantic coast, sso I don’t get to see those horizon sunsets that often.  I’m always awake for the sunset, which in my neighborhood sets at a not very distant mountain. It disappears from my view before the official time of sunset.  People west of that mountain still see the sun up for some time.  It is a relative thing in our perception, though not astronomically.

When is the earliest sunrise and latest sunset of the year? The exact date of earliest sunrise (and earliest sunset) varies with latitude.  Paradelle is at 40 degrees north latitude. Here, the earliest sunrise of the year was this morning (June 14) at 5:25 AM. I saw it a bit later rise above a mountain ridge to the east. (Paradelle is between two mountain ridges called First Mountain and Second Mountain.

Is the photo above a sunrise over First Mountain or a sunset at Second Mountain? They really look about the same.

The latest sunset of the year for me will fall on or near June 27. That is not to be confused with the longest day of the year  (the day containing the greatest amount of overall daylight) which is on the solstice on June 21.

The earliest sunrises come before the summer solstice because the day is more than 24 hours long at this time of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, the earliest sunsets of the year come before the winter solstice for the same reason. How is that possible? The main reason is the inclination of the Earth’s rotational axis.  At the summer solstice next week, Earth is close to aphelion (farthest point from the sun) which lessens the effect. Conversely, at the December solstice, Earth is close to perihelion (closest point to the sun) which accentuates the effect.

You can ask your phone or your computer for when sunrise and sunset times are for your home.

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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