The darkest part of the year

At least we don't live in Barrow, AK.
Posted at 4:39 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 16:39:19-05

You don't need a meteorologist to tell you that the days are getting shorter. We are entering our darkest part of the year. The sun now sets before 5:30 PM and doesn't come up until 7:30 AM or so the following day. Beginning today we will experience less than 10 hours of daylight. It won't be until February 23, 2020 that we see another day with at least 10 hours of daylight. Between now and the Winter Solstice on December 21st the day will be 28 minutes shorter.

Utqiagvik (Barrow) sea ice cam from November 7, 2019.

Thank goodness we don't live in Utqiagvik (Barrow), AK! The northernmost city in the US has seen the last sunset of 2019. The sun set at 1:49 PM on Monday and won't rise again until January 23, 2020. That's 67 days of total darkness! On the flip side during the summer there's daylight around the clock.

Our amount of daylight hours depends on the latitude and how the Earth orbits the sun. Remember the Earth's rotational axis is tilted. This tilt is what gives us our seasons. As a result, the orientation of Earth's axis to the sun is changing throughout the year. For a part of the year the axis points toward the sun and other times away. The distribution of sunlight at any given latitude also changes throughout the year.