Winter arrives tomorrow at 11 minutes after noon. Daylight is at a premium now. This weekend and the days ahead are the shortest of the year. But the shortest day is really more a concept than a reality. Our position on the Earth, our latitude and the atmosphere on the horizon all play a part. Daylight is nine hours and five minutes, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
As we look ahead sunrises begin occuring later in the morning, thus adding to the amount of daylight. Sunrise tomorrow is at 7:05 a.m. By January 10 the sunrise will occur at 7:07 a.m.
The earliest sunsets of the year ended on Saturday, Dec. 14, when the sun set at 4:11 p.m. Tonight’s sunset is at 4:14 p.m.. Looks like we are already headed towards spring.
Time keepers who plot the movement of the Earth and Sun calculate that the earth’s atmosphere plays a trick on both the rising and setting sun. The atmosphere on the horizon is a lens capable of bending light. The physical sun actually sets earlier than you think. What you see setting in the west, that looks like the sun, is more of a mirage. The reverse happens in the morning. The sun appears to rise earlier than it physically rises.
Have you noticed what looks like the Star of Bethlehem high in the western sky after sunset? This is Venus, the brightest planet in our west, making a superb appearance but this it is about to end. In mid-January, the planet will shift to a morning planet. Venus is quickly speeding in its orbit and is about to overcome the Earth in its race around the Sun. Inferior conjunction is January 11.
The last time Venus went through inferior conjunction was in June of 2012. That was a memorable event, as Venus transited the Sun. Some astronomers using the right equipment were able to watch Venus as it passed as a silhouette against the sun. This time it is far less interesting as Venus will not transit the sun.
|Fri., Dec. 20||7:04||4:13|
|Sat., Dec. 21||7:05||4:14|
|Sun., Dec. 22||7:05||4:14|
|Mon., Dec. 23||7:06||4:15|
|Tues., Dec. 24||7:06||4:16|
|Wed., Dec. 25||7:07||4:17|
|Thurs., Dec. 26||7:07||4:17|
|Fri., Dec. 27||7:07||4:18|
|Day||Max (Fº)||Min (Fº)||Inches|
Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 39º F.