21 December 2016

Winter Solstice

Today is the winter solstice — the shortest day of the year.
Day length varies by latitude on this day. In Anchorage, the sun rises at 10:14 a.m. and sets about 5 1/2 hours later at 3:42 p.m.
 
 
The winter solstice is an exciting day for many in Alaska as it marks the last day of losing daylight. Thursday, we’ll gain 11 seconds in Anchorage and by late January we’re up to an extra five minutes of daylight per day. The daylight really begins to add up as we get closer to the spring equinox in March. By May, Anchorage will experience 24 hours of daylight, or continuous twilight.
The summer solstice will occur on June 20, 2017, when daylight peaks in Anchorage at 19 hours and 21 minutes.
 
 The next two or three weeks will not make much apparent difference in the length of the daylight hours. But sometime in mid-January, we'll realize with pleasure that the days are noticeably longer.
 
Then they just keep getting longer (at peak acceleration, so to speak) at the rate of some 5 minutes and 42 seconds until the summer solstice approaches, when the acceleration slows. Then we'll have about six weeks when it never really gets dark.
 
Sometimes it's downright fun to be an Alaskan, and this still fascinates us ... even after nearly 15 years up here. :)

9 comments:

PeteForester1 said...

Yeah; I'm going to crack a bottle of champagne tonight to mark the end of the shortening days!

I was stationed in Kodiak during my time in the Coast Guard. I do indeed know what you're talking about! The ink-black darkness that literally ate my headlight beams... I'll never forget it...

God bless...

Rev. Paul said...

Thank you for your service, Pete; glad to know there's another sailor here. :)

Yes, that's why we fuss so much about the lack of snow in those winters where there isn't much. The lack of reflected light, combined with wet asphalt just eats the light. And the first pass of a snowplow scrapes all the stripes off the pavement, too. Makes it very stressful to drive. At least my early shift allows me to drive home in daylight hours. I've done far too many winters of driving to & from work in the dark for weeks at a stretch.

Sandy said...

Rev Paul,

Wish we had 24 hours of light for several months. There's so much I could accomplish, and tick off fellow neighbors :-)

On a Wing and a Whim said...

It gets lighter and better from here! Enjoy the coming year, and the coming sun! May you find plenty of light, laughter, and love ahead! Happy Solstice!

LindaG said...

I remember those days. ^_^
Be safe, stay warm, and God bless!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

When I was in 8th grade we went to visit my Uncle who was stationed in Norway. I remember being up on the roof at what seemed to be an unbelievably evening hour. Only later did I remember how much closer to the Pole Norway is.

Rev. Paul said...

Sandy, it's possible to mow one's lawn at midnight, but not really recommended. :)

Thank you, Wing. I suspect you might miss the summer solstice, but I've been wrong before.

Thanks, Linda.

TB, that's a fact. We're only about 450 miles south of the Arctic Circle, here.

threecollie said...

I could. not. do. that. And I admire and am amazed by those who can. I'd prolly be fine with the long days, but the short ones not so much.

Rev. Paul said...

Then you should definitely visit during the summer. :)