Happy 4-11, Weston!

Today is my least favorite day of the year yet also the one where l realize that things can only get better. December 8 is the earliest sunset time in the Weston area–after a few days stuck on 4:11 pm sunset, the days stay “bright” later, with sunset on December 21 a much-easier-to-handle 4:14 pm, and then by December 31, it’s 4:21 pm. By February 2, it will be 5 pm. January is not a nice month. Let’s all move to Weston, Florida for a bit, shall we? We’ll have to bring our own trees though; they don’t have many.

Now, every single year I read all the science-y stuff which explains why December 8 is an earlier sunset than December 21 and every year, I realize that I don’t miss science. Heck, parts of our country have lived without science for at least two years and seem to be (mostly) surviving. All right, here we go…the marketing person explains the science, with help from Wikipedia, PhD.

Boston today. Image credit here.

Here is my favorite summary (credit here): “This is because of a discrepancy between our modern-day timekeeping methods and how time is measured using the Sun known as the equation of time.” Okay, done. Got it?

Need more? You really don’t, because now things get a little Honors Geometry:

From the same site: “Locations closer to the Equator have their earliest sunset sometime in November. Locations at higher latitudes, on the other hand, have their earliest sunset later, closer to the actual date of the winter solstice. This occurs because of the Sun’s declination, which is the angle at which the rays of the Sun hit the plane of Earth’s equator. Because Earth’s rotational axis is tilted to about 23.4 degrees, the Sun’s declination varies through the year. During the summer solstice, it is +23.4 degrees and during the winter solstice it is -23.4 degrees. It is 0 degrees during the equinoxes. When the solar declination is +23.4 degrees, all locations in the Northern Hemisphere experience over 12 hours of daylight, while all locations in the Southern Hemisphere experiences less than 12 hours of daylight. This effect reverses when the sun’s declination is -23.4 degrees.”

Translation: sun is at an angle up here in semi-rural Weston and so things get dark earliest on December 8. Do you need more than that? I think not. Have a protractor.

Happy 4-11 Day, Weston!

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