Thursday in Iowa: The Sun Will Set at its Earliest Time in 2021
At 4:36 today the sun will set in Waterloo --- and will continue to set at 4:36 (albeit with a few micro-seconds difference) --- through December 14th.
Finally, on December 15th, it will set at 4:37 and will continue to sink below the horizon later and later in the evening until June 20th when it sets at 8:50.
**The sun will set at 4:35 in Cedar Rapids tonight (Thursday 12/2), as the city lies further east than Waterloo, but throughout the remainder of this post, I'll use Waterloo as the reference point for sunrise and sunset times.**
But wait...isn't the 'shortest day of the year on the first day of winter?' YES, IT IS!
Let me explain...
The sun will set later in the day in Mid-December, but it will still rise later in the morning throughout December.
On January 1, 2022, the sun will rise in Waterloo at 7:39 and will continue to rise at that time until January 6th, when it starts to backtrack at 7:38 on that date. The sun will rise the earliest from June 10-19 at 5:31.
So when is the shortest day of the year, in terms of sunlight? It's still the first day of winter! On that day, December 21, Waterloo will have 9 hours, 3 minutes, and 43 seconds of daylight. The following day, December 22, will have two seconds MORE daylight.
On that first day of winter, the sun will rise at 7:35 and set at 4:39. That's a 15 minute later sunrise than today, December 2, and a three-minute later sunset than today.
See the chart below:
So, while the sun will basically be 'stuck' setting at 4:36 for the next couple of weeks, your morning 'wake up' will still be darker and darker until NEXT YEAR on January 6th.
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