Tuesday's sunset in Philadelphia will be a minute earlier as the days get shorter until December


We're barely over a week past the summer solstice and it's all downhill from here.

For three days each summer from June 26-28, the official sunset time in Philadelphia peaks at 8:34 p.m., according to the daily climate reports from the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly.

But tonight, the sun will dip below the horizon one minute earlier at 8:33 p.m., the daily climate report shows.

Daily climate report from the NWS office in Mount Holly. (NWS/Mount Holly)

This kind of makes sense since the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, was back on June 20, so the days should be slowly getting shorter by now. But on the other hand, if the solstice was more than a week ago, why did the latest sunsets not occur until nearly the end of June?

It turns out that the earliest sunrises of the year actually occur before the summer solstice, while the latest sunsets aren't until after it. This displacement is best explained by the equation of time.

In Philadelphia, the earliest sunrises at 5:31 a.m. take place over a 12-day period from June 8-19. On the summer solstice, it rises one minute later at 5:32 a.m., while the sun sets at 8:32 p.m., providing us with an even 15 hours of daylight.

The sunset time then improves to 8:33 p.m. by June 22, 8:34 p.m. by June 26, then falls back to 8:33 p.m. from June 29-July 2.

The next sunset before 8:30 p.m. will be an 8:29 p.m. sunset on July 12. By then, the sunrise will be at 5:42 a.m., 11 minutes later than in mid-June.

If you enjoy the long days of summer, be sure to take advantage of them now. Darkness sets in at 4:35 p.m. by early December.



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