Shorter Days, Later Sunsets

Hi it’s Leslie Harris, and this is the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere. The winter solstice is happening on December 21st at 9:27 p.m. Central standard Time, but, we’ve already had our earliest sunset. How can that be?

Does it seem like the days might already be getting longer? That could be because our earliest sunset actually occurred on December 8th, so, sunset has been getting later, but so has our sunrise.

This all has to do with the Earth’s elliptical orbit around the sun. We will be orbiting faster during January when we’re closest to the Sun than in July when we’re farthest away, creating a lopsided figure 8 pattern. I could go on, but it’s all a bunch of sciency stuff that I don’t really understand.
We’re still losing about 30 seconds of daylight per day until the solstice, when we’ll have about 9 hours and 8 minutes of daylight. The next day, will have less than a second more daylight. Woohoo!
Things really turn around in January, and we’ll start to see the sun setting past 5:00 p.m. around the end of that month.
Take heart, the light will be returning soon!
All of this darkness is one reason why so many cultures have light festivals around this time of year, which makes things a little nicer.
Do you enjoy this dark time of year? Let me know in the Facebook comments.