Viewed from the Pacific Northwest region, Whidbey Island in the state of Washington to be almost exact (like an “exact approximation?), Winter Solstice for 2013 takes place 9:11 a.m. PST on the 21st of December.
Some will refer to Winter Solstice as the shortest day of the year, which is not entirely correct. In a literal sense all days are of equal length. In a figurative sense it is the hours of light (daylight and dark) that many think hits a least value on solstice.
Today’s sunset will take place at 4:18 p.m. PST. Tomorrow, the sixth day of December of 2013, our sunset will happen at 4:17 p.m. PST. For the next ten days sunset will happen at this same 4:17 p.m. PST. Finally, on the sixteenth day of December the sun will set a minute later and start on the never-ending cycle of setting-later-each-day-for-while journey.
Meanwhile, in the eastern sky the sun seems to be later in its arrival each morning; finally crossing eight o’clock on the twenty-second of December– the day after winter solstice! While sunset is already getting later each day, so too is sunrise occurring later each morning. Its latest arrival being 8:02 a.m. PST on the fourth of January, 2014. Finally on the fifth of January the time of the sun’s breaking the eastern horizon recedes by a minute and, though three months away, the lengthening days bring thoughts of spring.
Latest sunrise: 8:02 a.m. PST, 28 Dec ’13 through 04 Jan ’14. Earliest sunset: 4:17 p.m. PST, 06 Dec ’13 through 15 Dec ’13.
The shortest period (hours:minutes) of daylight bounces back and forth…
- 17 Dec : 8:21
- 18 Dec : 8:20
- 19 Dec : 8:21
- 20 Dec : 8:20
- 21 Dec: 8:21 — Winter Solstice at 9:11 a.m.
- 22 Dec : 8:20
- 23 Dec : 8:21
- 24 Dec : 8:20
- 25 Dec : 8:21 — Christ is born, the days become longer.
- 26 Dec : 8:22
Venus being very bright, tonight is brightest…
http://earthsky.org/tonight just after sunset.
A meteor shower, Geminid, is coming soon: