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Is Today the Shortest Day of the Year?

Today is the Winter Solstice, normally the shortest day of the year. On the plus side, the days will start to get longer on Sunday.

Sunset was quite early today.

Today is the Winter Solstice, traditionally the day that marks the shortest day of the year. Sure this means we don't get a lot of sunshine today, but on the plus side the Solstice marks the time when the days begin to get longer.

However, though today is the Solstice, the actual shortest day of 2012 will be tomorrow.

According to timeanddate.com the December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. It is normally on Dec. 21, but the actual shortest day can be between Dec. 20 and 23 depending on the year.

According to sunrisesunset.com, the shortest day of the year in this area will be on Dec. 22. On that day the sun will rise at 7:12 a.m. and set at 4:15 p.m. After that date, the days will begin to get longer. Dec. 23, for example, will see the sun setting at 4:16 p.m.

The sun will set at 4:21 on New Year's Eve.

Of course the real change in the time of the sunset will come with the start of Daylight Saving 2013 when we "spring ahead" and move the clocks up an hour. That will take place on March 10. On March 9, the sun will set at 5:43 p.m. and on March 10 we will have sunlight until 6:45 p.m.

Larry Heiman December 21, 2012 at 11:46 PM
How could this be the shortest day of the year? I always thought every day of the year had 24 hours.
Larry Heiman December 21, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Always interesting and mostly factual.
Larry Heiman December 21, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Always interesting and mostly factual.
Candide08 December 21, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Daylight savings time is evil. Set the clocks and leave them.
Candide08 December 21, 2012 at 11:57 PM
The Egyptians used to divide days into 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Thus an hour varied in length daily and seasonally.
Max Bucks December 22, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Yes, this is the shortest day. I no sooner ate breakfast than it was time for lunch! Before I knew it, I was driving home from work and having dinner. My wife asked me what I was doing home so early. Did I get fired? No, I told her. This is the shortest day! Well, off to bed. No time left for TV tonight. Max Bucks Bozeman, MT
Jimmy Allen December 22, 2012 at 12:42 AM
The sun will NOT set later on March 10; the clocks will be set to a later time when the sun sets.
Peter Everett December 22, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Due to the slightly elliptical nature of Earth's orbit. The shortest day is neither the day of latest sunrise, nor the day of earliest sunset, relative to clock time. The day of earliest sunset in Framingham was December 11 at 4:13 PM. The day of latest sunrise will be January 4 at 7:15. The shortest day is about half-way between these dates.

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