You have likely noticed the later sunsets in recent days. The Sun now sets around 5:30 PM in Fargo Moorhead. A few days before the winter solstice the Sun set was at 4:38 PM, meaning we have gained nearly an hour in the past five weeks in the afternoon.
In the morning, it has been another story. The sun rises now around 7:55 AM, which has been a gain of only around 18 minutes from our latest sunrise of 8:13 AM several days after the winter solstice. Although sun rise times have not improved much so far, in the next couple of weeks you will likely notice a faster acceleration in the mornings. If you enjoy the early morning sun, there is a note of caution.
The recent changes to when daylight saving time starts will greatly impact the mornings. By early March our sunrise will be around 7:00 AM, but then on March 10 when daylight saving time starts, the sunrise will go back to 8:00 AM and then the whole process will start once again.
Although we think of the sun rising in the east and setting in the west each day, it only does this around the two equinoxes in March and September. This becomes particularly noticeable if you happen to be driving near sunrise or set this time of year. Because much of the United States is plotted in one mile square sections within the public lands survey requirements, most of our roads run either due north/south or east/west.
Near the two equinoxes, many drivers have to drive directly into the sun on their way back and forth to work or school. This in turn causes a decrease in visual acuity that heightens the risk for accidents. Traffic accident rates do increase during these two times of the year.
Because of this I will always remember the advice of one of my geography teachers; buy your home east of where you work, then the sun will always be at your back as you travel back and forth to work
If you are an early riser like myself, or are out enjoying the late evenings, you have likely noticed that the sun is rising later and setting earlier then it did a few weeks ago. Since the Summer Solstice in June, Fargo Moorhead has lost over 30 minutes of daylight in the morning and a bit less than 30 minutes in the evening.
Our earliest sunrise in June occurred at 5:32 AM and our latest sunset time was at 9:26 PM. We are currently losing about 3 minutes a day of sunlight and will maintain a lose of either 3 or 4 minutes a day right through early December when that pace will slow slightly as we approach the Winter Solstice. Our sunrise and sunset times vary slightly from year to year, but in December we will see our sunset times bottom around 4:38 PM in the middle of December and our sunrise times will occur around 8:12 in the morning.
For all of you tired of our early Sunsets, the Sun will begin to set later beginning tomorrow December 18. Why before the Winter Solstice you might ask? Read this previous blog for a short explanation.